London's Oxford Circus and Bond Street stations have reopened after reports of gunfire prompted a brief closure. Police could find no evidence that shots had been fired. The police deployment prompted panic in the area.
Police ended their large-scale response in central London on Friday evening after finding no evidence to confirm reports of gunfire.
Previously, police received a number of emergency calls reporting several gunshots on London's Oxford Street, one of the busiest shopping streets in the British capital, and the Oxford Circus station. In response, the officials closed Bond Street and Oxford Circus stations before reopening them soon after. The police initially urged people to avoid the area and stay indoors.
After a thorough search, however, police found no evidence of any casualties or suspects. They subsequently ended a temporary advisory for people in the area to seek shelter.
Witnesses reported panic as emergency services rushed to the area.
"There were people running in all directions. I didn't know which way to run," said a witness quoted by Reuters news agency.
UK reporter Chi Chi Izundu said she was locked in a clothing shop until "the situation is under control," before tweeting she overheard speculation that an electrical fire might have been mistaken for a gunshot. This information has not been confirmed.
Oxford Circus Station is in the center of London's shopping district. The area was particularly crowded on Friday due to Black Friday sales. A video posted by Twitter user Charlotte Terry showed panicked shoppers running down the street.
"Police have responded as if the incident is terrorist related," the London police said in a statement.
A woman reportedly sustained a minor injury while leaving the Oxford Circus station, police said, but added there were no other reports of casualties at this time.
Underground public transport operator Transport for London previously said they were investigating a "customer incident."
London has been targeted by several terror attacks this year, including a blast at Parsons Green underground station in September.
dj/kms (Reuters, AP)