According to published reports, the attacks are believed to be linked to al-Qaida, but authorities have yet to verify it.
England native Jeremy Lewis, a political science professor at Huntingdon College, said that because of London's experience with Irish Republican Army and anarchist terrorism in the 1970s, it is better organized for responding to attacks than New York was on Sept. 11, 2001.
"London's got a whole generation now of experience with the war on terrorism," he said. "They do regular drills with the hospitals, the ambulances, the fire brigade, the police and intelligence people to simulate a disaster and look after hundreds of wounded people and those drills help to keep them up to snuff for the real thing."
Gov. Bob Riley said the Alabama Department of Homeland Security is in contact with local officials and is making them aware that federal resources are available to pay for overtime costs if local authorities decide to increase police protection around bus stations and other possible targets.
"Alabama is no more -- but no less -- a target for terrorists intent on inflicting damage and mass casualties on American soil. We will take whatever action is necessary to protect our citizens," Riley said.
In response to the terrorist attacks in London, Alabama Homeland Security Director Jim Walker said he has remained in close contact with local, state and federal officials concerning ongoing efforts to increase security of the mass transit systems in Alabama.
"The terror threat level for mass transit across the United States is increased to a high level of Alert following the bombings on commuter rail and bus systems in London," he said in a statement released by his office. "Presently, there is no information indicating a credible threat to transportation systems in the United States and specifically the State of Alabama. To further ensure the safety of our citizens, the metropolitan cities in Alabama have been asked to take appropriate security measures in and around bus and train stations and on buses and trains."
Lewis is well-versed in international politics and terrorism. For example, he just recently attended a Harvard faculty seminar directed by professor Ernest May, who was a senior advisor for the 9/11 Commission report, and three weeks ago he participated in the Air War College's national security forum. Lewis's long list of credentials includes degrees from Oxford University as well as Johns Hopkins University and said he is currently working on a class on world politics and terrorism for the fall.
"We've just got to expect that the war on terrorism will last a generation and ultimately there will have to be some sort of political solution," he said. "Because you can send special forces out and kill numbers of terrorists here and there but there's a continual flow of disaffected young men from many Islamic countries that can be stimulated into committing barbarous acts and the war in Iraq kills a lot of them but also stimulates more."
Lewis said that he still has family in England, though they no longer live in London. His father who worked in London for 20 years escaped two bombings by just a few minutes in the 1970s. Lewis also said that those who were planning to travel to Europe this summer should keep their plans because cities like London and Paris are still safer than major cities in America.
"They're still very safe statistically. London and Paris and other major cities have much less violent crime generally than the U.S. does and so you're still safer in London or Paris than you are in Atlanta," he said.
(The locations of the explosions) were generally in the city and the work area. When I've gone down there, I haven't really been in that area," said Lucy Warren, 21, who attends Worceter University in England. "In two weeks, I'll return. I'm certainly apprehensive about it. My stepdad actually has to return on Tuesday and I'm certainly concerned."
Warren, 21, lived in Montgomery for 10 years, but returned to England when she was 18. She is majoring in journalism. [...]
U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby, while traveling in London on matters related to the Senate Banking Committee, described the bombings in London as "malicious attacks."
"I want to express my sincere condolences
to the victims and families of this terrible tragedy," Shelby said in a
statement released by his office Thursday. "As Americans, we stand united
with the British people in the struggle against terrorism as they hunt
down those responsible and bring them to justice. These malicious attacks
only strengthen our resolve to defeat those who wish to harm the United
States and our allies."
Staff writer Kirsten Barnes contributed to this report