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U.S. Air Force Lifts London Ban

The U.S. Air Force (search) on Tuesday lifted an order barring personnel from visiting London because of safety fears following last week's bombings, a directive that had caused some indignation in the city after it was reported by a newspaper.

The order had applied to Navy personnel as well as the 10,000 Air Force personnel at two major bases in eastern England; the Navy rescinded the order earlier, David Johnson, the embassy's charge d'affaires, told British Broadcasting Corp. radio.

In contrast, British officials urged Londoners after Thursday's subway and bus bombings to get on with their lives and not let themselves be overcome by fear.

The Daily Mail newspaper said in an editorial: "We trust the 4 million Americans who come to London each year are made of sterner stuff than the U.S. Air Force."

The order had applied to the area inside the M25 highway encircling London, but travel on official business was permitted, said Matt Tulis, a spokesman at the Mildenhall Air Force base.

"The main reason is for the security and safety of our military folks," he said.

Staff Sgt. Jeff Hamm at Lakenheath said the Air Force wanted to "ensure its personnel are as vigilant and as safe as possible."

"While it's important for some to carry on business as usual, the interests in keeping the Air Force out of harm's way until we have a bit more knowledge about what has happened is greater than the need to send them back into the city," Hamm said.

Reid told BBC radio that the original decision was "perfectly sensible."

He noted that the first call he received following confirmation of the attack was from Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld (search) offering "all possible assistance including people coming to London, and some people have done that."

"So it isn't the case that Americans are somehow running away from this," Reid said.

Londoners won praise from world leaders for the resolve they displayed last week, with some likening it to the courage the city showed during the blitz in World War II.