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July 21, 2005
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Terror experts: Latest London blasts amateurish

By MIKE MCDONOUGH
Associated Press Writer

LONDON- The explosions that struck London underground trains and a bus Thursday appeared less sophisticated than the deadly attacks that hit the British capital two weeks ago, terrorism experts said.

Explosions shut down three underground train stations and hit a double-decker bus just after midday Thursday, authorities said. They reported one casualty. In the July 7 attacks, four suicide bombers killed 52 people and themselves on three underground trains and a bus during the morning rush hour.

Jeremy Binnie, an analyst with the London-based Jane's Terrorism and Insurgency Center, said there were key differences between Thursday's explosions and the previous blasts.

The latest ones did not take place at rush hour, they targeted more outlying stations, and "if there were bombs, they seem to have been duds," Binnie said.

"It seems much more amateurish in many ways," he told The Associated Press.

That could suggest they were a copycat operation, but Binnie cautioned that it was too early to tell. He noted that investigations into the July 7 blasts showed signs there could be a second cell in existence.

Keith Burnet, an expert at the Royal Institute for International Affairs, a London-based think-tank, also said the blasts appeared to be part of a "copycat exercise, carried out by people not as sophisticated as the bombers who struck on July 7."

Burnet said there was little that Britain's security forces could do _ short of searching every passenger on the capital's huge network of buses and trains _ to thwart such attacks.

But, he said, the quick response by police and medics may be partly credited to London's ongoing heightened state of alert from the quadruple bombings two weeks ago.

____

Associated Press Writer Lee Keath in Cairo contributed to this report.

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