Could there really be that many people late for work this morning?

That was Dr. Patrick Conners initial reaction in London this morning as he saw a throng of people walking very fast near the British Library. Those people, as Conner would soon find out, were fleeing from the scene of one of several terrorist bombings that killed at least 37 people and injured scores of others.

Conner, a West Virginia University English professor and director of the WVU Press, has been in the city for the past few days researching a book he is writing on Anglo-Saxon poetry.

While the library is close to Russell Square where a double-decker bus was destroyed in the coordinated series of explosions, Conner didnt know what he was seeing at first.

Walked across from Starbucks at 9:30 a.m.,he recounted in an e-mail to his WVU Press colleagues this morning.Lots of people walking very fast on sidewalk and road between Kings X and EustonI remember thinking, can that many people be late for work?

Conner, ironically, learned of the attacks via an e-mail news alert from CNN , once he went online in the library.

I saw the breaking news story alert in an e-mail from CNN ,he wrote.Then the library people told us not to leave. So, here I sit.

That lockdown was eventually lifted, and while the city was still reeling, Conner did observe other signs of normalcy.

The number is now 37 confirmed dead, and they expect more to die in the hospital,he wrote in a later e-mail.That is indeed tragic. But London is still going on. As we left the Library (they closed it at 4:30 because of the attack) we noted that a nearby pub was open

Conner can talk to reporters by e-mail or telephone. His e-mail address is and his telephone number in London is +44 020 7387 3927.

The bombings coincided with the start of the G8 summit in Gleneagles, Scotland, and a day after London won the bid to host the 2012 Olympics.

A group calling itselfThe Secret Organization of al-Qaeda in Europehas claimed responsibility for the attack, but Scotland Yard and other British authorities didnt immediately know if that claim was legitimate.

WVU has faculty members who have expertise in the areas of terrorism and Middle East politics and are available to comment on the bombings.

They are:

  • Larry Nichols , a sociology professor who has taught courses on international terrorism, or 304-293-5801 ext. 3206
  • Scott Crichlow , a WVU political science professor who is an expert in Middle East affairs, or 304-293-3811 ext. 5288