Image: British Prime Minister Tony Blair, center.
Charlie Bibby  /  Financial Times - Poo via AP
British Prime Minister Tony Blair, center, speaks with U.S. President Bush and France's President Jacques Chirac in the background at the Gleneagles Hotel in Auchterarder, Scotland, on Thursday.
updated 7/7/2005 1:43:47 PM ET 2005-07-07T17:43:47

British Prime Minister Tony Blair accused Islamic extremists of carrying out the deadly explosions on London transit Thursday.

"It is through terrorism that the people that have committed this terrible act express their values," he said from his Downing Street office after returning from the G-8 summit.

"They are trying to use the slaughter of innocent people to cow us ... but they should know they will not succeed," he said.

Blair promised an intense police hunt to find the attackers.

He also welcomed a statement from the Muslim Council of Britain condemning the explosion, saying he knows most Muslims worldwide "deplore this act of terrorism."

Blair also paid tribute to Londoners, and said: "We will show by our spirit and dignity and by our quiet but true strength that there is in the British people that our values will long outlast theirs. This is a very sad day for the British people, but we will hold true to the British way of life."

Blair vows G-8 summit will go on
Flanked by fellow world leaders at the G-8 summit earlier on Thursday, Blair said the explosions would not halt an annual summit.

“We will not allow violence to change our societies or our values nor will we allow it to stop the work of this summit,” Blair said in a statement on behalf of the Group of Eight leaders and the heads of five developing nations meeting in Gleneagles. “We will continue our deliberations in the interest of a better world.”

Earlier, Blair termed the blasts terrorist attacks and said it was reasonably clear they were “designed and aimed to coincide” with the meeting.

“We are united in our resolve to confront and defeat this terrorism that is not an attack on one nation but on all nations and on civilized people everywhere,” the world leaders said in their joint statement.

Blair read the statement as President Bush and the other G-8 leaders stood somberly behind him. They were joined by the leaders of China, India, Brazil, Mexico and South Africa, who met with the G-8 on Thursday to discuss ways to combat global warming.

Blair then rushed from the summit back to London for briefings on the attacks.

Minutes later, Bush told reporters that Blair was carrying with him “a message of solidarity” from his fellow world leaders — all jointly resolved, he said, to defeat terrorism.

“The contrast couldn’t be clearer between the intentions and the hearts of those of us who care deeply about human rights and human liberty, and those who kill, those who’ve got such evil in their heart that they will take the lives of innocent folks,” Bush said. “The war on terror goes on. ... We will not yield to these people.”

PM to return to summit Friday
Blair planned to return to Gleneagles for the summit’s final day of talks on Friday. And the other leaders — already protected by extraordinary security measures that local authorities said were sufficient for now — planned to proceed Thursday in Blair’s absence with discussions on the issues of global warming and African poverty that the British leader has made the centerpiece of the gathering.

“All of our countries have suffered from the impact of terrorism,” the leaders said. “We shall prevail and they shall not.”

At least six blasts rocked the London subway and tore open at least one packed double-decker bus in nearly simultaneous explosions during Thursday’s morning rush hour. Deaths and injuries mounted and officials shut down the entire underground transport network.

The explosions came as Bush and Blair were meeting over breakfast and answering questions from reporters.

“It’s particularly barbaric that this has happened on a day when people are meeting to try to help the problems of poverty in Africa, the long-term problems of climate change and the environment,” Blair told reporters.

“Just as it is reasonably clear that this is a terrorist attack or a series of terrorist attacks, it’s also reasonably clear that it is designed and aimed to coincide with the opening of the G-8,” Blair said.

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