London police have shot and killed a man at a subway station, a day after four small explosions hit the transit network. The city's police chief says the incidents are related. Later Friday, police arrested a man in connection with Thursday's explosions.
Police say Friday's shooting occurred at the Stockwell subway station in South London, one stop away from where a subway train was hit by a small explosion Thursday, one of four blasts on London's transport system.
A witness to Friday's shooting, Mark Whitby, told reporters the man raced onto his train moments before he was fatally shot by undercover police.
"I saw an Asian guy, he looked Pakistani, he ran onto the train. He was hotly pursued by, I just presume them to be three plainclothes police officers," Mr. Whitby recalled. "One of them was wielding a black handgun. He half-tripped as he ran into the carriage. They pushed him to the floor, and basically unloaded five shots into him."
Other witnesses say the dead man wore an unseasonably heavy coat for London's summer weather, and some media reports say police suspected he was a suicide bomber.
London Police Commissioner Ian Blair gave few details, but said the shooting is part of the city's anti-terrorist campaign.
"This shooting is directly linked to the ongoing and expanding anti-terrorist operation," he said. "I need to make clear that any death is deeply regrettable, but as I understand the situation, the man was challenged, and refused to obey police instructions."
A former police commander, Roy Ramm, told British television, police now have standing orders to shoot to kill suspected suicide bombers because of the danger involved.
"The fact is that when you are dealing with suicide bombers, the only way you can stop them effectively and protect yourself is to try for a head shot," he explained. "Because the danger of shooting into the body is that you may detonate a bomb which is wrapped around somebody."
Police Chief Blair, aware of the sensitivities of London's Muslim community, said the police are not picking on any group as they pursue suspected terrorists.
"We remain resolute and will work tirelessly and imaginatively with every community in London to solve this crime," he stressed. "The most important message we have is that this operation is targeted against criminals. It is not targeted against any community, or any section of a community."
In another development, police released close-circuit television images of four suspects in Thursday's blasts, and appealed to the public for any information on their whereabouts.
An al-Qaida-linked group, called the Abu Haf al-Masri Brigade, says it planted the explosives Thursday, on three subway trains and a city bus. There were no deaths or serious injuries in the incidents.
The same group claimed responsibility for the July 7 bombings in London that killed 56 people. Police have not authenticated either claim.
Meanwhile, the union that represents London transport workers has told members they can refuse to work, if they feel their safety is jeopardized.
Many subway workers, bus drivers and passengers say they are fearful of more attacks.