LONDON -- A car bomb in London's financial district killed two people and injured 80 others with flying glass and debris Friday night, and a second car bomb rocked the northern edge of the city less than four hours later.
A telephone warning preceded the first explosion, which occurred at 9:20 p.m. on a street called St. Mary Axe, adjacent to the Commercial Union Building, but Scotland Yard said the information given was deliberately erroneous.
The caller gave a recognized codeword used by the Irish Republican Army, a police spokeswoman said.
The second blast at 1:05 a.m. occurred at the junction of the M-1 motorway and the North Circular Road near Brent Cross shoppping center. The bomb was in a vehicle parked under an overpass over the motorway. There were no immediate reports of injuries in the second blast.
Both blasts were heard for several miles.
Thefinancial district explosion threw people to the ground and caused major structural damage for several hundred yards, witnesses said.
'It was a very large device. Our estimate at this time is in excess of 100 pounds of high explosive,' said Commander George Churchill- Coleman, chief of the Anti-Terrorist Branch of the Metropolitan Police.
Some of the injuries were serious, a police spokeswoman said. Thirty- three victims were being treated at St. Bartholomew's Hospital, another 30 were at Royal London Hospital and 17 were being treated at Guy's Hospital.
'The telephone call was very short and said there was a bomb inside a vehicle outside the Stock Exchange. They gave a 20-minute warning call,' Churchill-Coleman said.
'The information was of course erroneous. The bomb was in a vehicle a half-mile away, outside the Baltic Exchange, in St. Mary Axe, in the City.'
Police said it was not clear if the victims were passing in the street or were in nearby buildings when the blast occurred.
The explosion ripped the district as many city workers were enjoying a Friday night drink at nearby pubs, celebrating the election victory of the Conservative Party.
Witnesses said the blast shook buildings and threw people to the ground.
'The whole place shook,' said one man. 'The whole place shook under our feet.'
Police were attempting to clear people from the area when the explosion occurred.
Reports said a call was received at a British Rail information center at Waterloo Station at about 8:55 p.m. warning a bomb would go off in the area. The caller reportedly had a strong Irish accent.
Terrorrism expert David Capitanchik said he believed the bomb explosions were a message to the new Government of England from the IRA, which opposes British rule in Northern Ireland.
One of the losers in the general election Thursday was Member of Parliament Gerry Adams, who represented West Belfast as a member of Sinn Fein, the political arm of the IRA.