7 July 2005 London bombings

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7 July 2005 London bombings
Image:London2005Bus.jpg
Emergency services surround the wreckage of the number 30 bus in Tavistock Square.
Location London, United Kingdom
Target(s) London Underground and a double-decker bus
Date 7 July 2005


8:50 am – 9:47 am (UTC+1)

Attack Type Suicide bombings
Fatalities 56 (including suicide bombers)
Injuries ~ 700
Perpetrator(s) Hasib Hussain, Mohammad Sidique Khan, Germaine Lindsay, and Shehzad Tanweer

The 7 July 2005 London bombings were a series of coordinated bomb blasts that struck London's public transport system during the morning rush hour. At 8:50 a.m. (BST, UTC+1), three bombs exploded within 50 seconds of each other on three London Underground trains. A fourth bomb exploded on a bus nearly an hour later at 9:47 a.m. in Tavistock Square. The bombings killed 52 commuters and the four suicide bombers, as well as causing a severe, day-long disruption of the city's transport and mobile telecommunications infrastructure.

Contents

[edit] The incidents

[edit] Attacks on the Underground

Image:7 July London bombings locations.png
Locations of the bombings, overlaid onto a "real-path" map of the London Underground
  • 08:50 — Three bombs on the London Underground exploded within fifty seconds of each other:
    • The first bomb exploded on an eastbound Circle Line sub-surface Underground train, number 204, travelling between Liverpool Street and Aldgate. The train had left King's Cross St. Pancras about eight minutes earlier. At the time of the explosion, the third carriage of the train was approximately 100 yards (90 m) down the tunnel from Liverpool Street. The parallel track of the Hammersmith and City Line from Liverpool Street to Aldgate East was also damaged.
    • The second bomb exploded on the second carriage of a westbound Circle Line sub-surface Underground train, number 216. The train had just left platform 4 at Edgware Road and was heading for Paddington. The train had left King's Cross St. Pancras about eight minutes earlier. There were several other trains nearby at the time of the explosion. An eastbound Circle Line train (arriving at platform 3 at Edgware Road from Paddington) was passing next to the train and was damaged<ref name="lucky-driver">Template:Cite web</ref>, along with a wall that later collapsed. There were two other trains at Edgware Road: an unidentified train on platform 2, and an eastbound Hammersmith & City Line train that had just arrived at platform 1.
    • The third bomb exploded on a southbound Piccadilly Line deep-level Underground train, number 311, travelling between King's Cross St. Pancras and Russell Square. The bomb exploded about one minute after the train left King's Cross, by which time it had travelled about 500 yards (450 m). The explosion took place at the rear of the first carriage of the train, causing severe damage to the rear of that carriage, as well as the front of the second one.<ref name="north-diary">Template:Cite web</ref> The surrounding tunnel also sustained damage.

It was originally thought that there had been six, rather than three, explosions on the Underground. The bus bombing brought the reported total to seven, however this error was corrected later that day. This was because the blasts occurred on trains that were between stations, causing the wounded to emerge from both stations, giving the impression that there was an incident at each station. Police also revised the timings of the tube blasts: initial reports had indicated that they occurred over a period of almost half an hour. This was due to initial confusion at London Underground, where the explosions were initially thought to be due to a power surge. One initial report, in the minutes after the explosions, involved a person under a train, while another concerned a derailment (both of which did actually occur, but only as a result of the explosions). A Code Amber Alert was declared at 09:19, and London Underground began to shut down the network, bringing trains into stations and suspending all services.<ref name="tube-log">Template:Cite web</ref> The effects of the bombs are thought to have varied due to the differing characteristics of the tunnels.

  1. The Circle Line is a "cut and cover" sub-surface tunnel, about 7 m (21 ft) deep. Because the tunnel contains two parallel tracks, it is relatively wide. The two explosions on this line were probably able to vent their force into the tunnel, reducing their lethality.
  2. The Piccadilly Line is a deep tunnel, up to 30 m (100 ft) underground, with narrow (3.5 m, or 11 ft) single-track tubes and just 15 cm (6 in) clearances. This narrow space reflected the blast force, concentrating its effect.

[edit] Attack on a double-decker bus

Earlier, the bus had passed through the Kings Cross area as it travelled from Hackney Wick to Marble Arch. At Marble Arch, the bus turned around and started the return route from Marble Arch to Hackney Wick. It left Marble Arch at 09:00 a.m. and arrived at Euston bus station at 09:35 a.m., where crowds of people had been evacuated from the tube and were boarding buses. The bus then followed a diversion from its normal route because of road closures in the Kings Cross area (due to the earlier tube bombings). People who had been evacuated from the Underground were continuing to board the bus. At the time of the explosion the bus was travelling through Tavistock Square at the point where it joins Upper Woburn Place. It is not clear when or where the bomber boarded the bus, and the police have appealed for witnesses.<ref name="bus-bomber">Template:Cite web</ref>

The explosion ripped the roof off the top deck of the vehicle and destroyed the back of the bus. Witnesses reported seeing "half a bus flying through the air".

The detonation took place close to the British Medical Association building on Upper Woburn Place, and a number of doctors in or near the building were able to provide immediate emergency medical assistance. BBC Radio 5 and The Sun newspaper later reported that two injured bus passengers said that they saw a man exploding in the bus. News reports have identified Hasib Hussain as the person with the bomb on the bus.<ref name="campbell-laville">Template:Cite web</ref>

The bus bomb exploded towards the rear of the vehicle's top deck, totally destroying that portion of it but leaving the front of the bus intact. Most of the passengers at the front of the top deck are believed to have survived, as did those on the front of the lower deck including the driver, but those at the top and lower rear of the bus took the brunt of the explosion. The extreme physical damage caused to the victims' bodies resulted in a lengthy delay in announcing the death toll from the bombing while the police determined how many bodies were present and whether the bomber was one of them. A number of passers-by were also injured by the explosion and surrounding buildings were damaged by fragments.

Two more suspicious packages were found on underground trains and were destroyed using controlled explosions. Police later said they were not bombs.

[edit] Context

The bombings came while the UK was hosting the first full day of the 31st G8 summit, a day after London was chosen to host the 2012 Summer Olympics, two days after the beginning of the trial of fundamentalist cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri, five days after the Live 8 concert was held there, and shortly after Britain had assumed the rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union. The bombings were on the anniversary of large-scale racially motivated rioting in Bradford four years previously.

[edit] Initial reports

The first reports suggested that a power surge in the Underground power grid had caused explosions in power circuits. This was later ruled out by the National Grid, the power suppliers. Commentators suggested that the explanation had arisen because of bomb damage to power lines along the tracks; the rapid series of power failures caused by the explosions (or power being cut off by means of switches at the locations to permit evacuation) looked similar, from the point of view of a control room operator, to a cascading series of circuit breaker operations that would result from a major power surge.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair stated within a couple of hours of the explosions that he believed that they were "probably a major terrorist attack". He also indicated that police had found indications of explosives at one of the blast sites, though he would not speculate on who might have carried out the attack. The investigation thus concentrated on possible terrorist suspects.

A couple hours after the bombings, the then Home Secretary Charles Clarke told the House of Commons of the incidents as terrorist attacks.

[edit] Incidents of 21st July

On 21 July 2005, a second series of four explosions took place on the London Underground and a London bus. The detonators of all four bombs exploded, but none of the main explosive charges detonated, and there were no casualties: the single injury reported at the time was later revealed to be an asthma sufferer. All suspected bombers from this failed attack escaped from the scenes but were later arrested.

[edit] Casualties

This article includes a list of those killed in the bombings.

[edit] Memorial event

On 7 July 2006, the country held a two-minute silence at midday to remember those who died in the bombings a year before. Plaques were unveiled at the tube stations where the bombs exploded and memorial services were held at each scene to pay tribute to the lives lost.

2005 London bombings
Overview Timeline
Rumours
7 July 2005
Details
Response
Memorials
Locations
Liverpool Street
to Aldgate
(Circle Line)
King's Cross
to Russell Square
(Piccadilly Line)
Edgware Road
(Circle Line)
Tavistock Square
(bus)
21 July 2005
Details
Locations
Shepherd's Bush
(H&C Line)
Warren Street
(Victoria Line)
Oval
(Northern Line)
Bethnal Green
(bus)

[edit] Investigation

[edit] Initial results

There was initially a great deal of confused information from police sources as to the origin, method, and even timings of the explosions. Forensic examiners had initially thought that military grade plastic explosives were used, and, as the blasts were thought to have been simultaneous, that synchronised timed detonators were employed. This all changed as further information became available.

Fifty-six people, including the four perpetrators, were killed in the attacks and about 700 were injured, of whom about 100 required overnight hospital treatment or more. The incident was the deadliest single act of terrorism in the United Kingdom since Lockerbie (the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 which killed 270), and the deadliest bombing in London since the Second World War. More people were killed in the bombings than in any single Provisional IRA attack (in Great Britain or Ireland) during the Troubles.

Police examined about 2,500 items of CCTV footage and forensic evidence from the scenes of the attacks. It is believed that each of the four bombs consisted of four and a half kilograms (10 lb) of high explosives, reportedly home-made acetone peroxide.<ref>Bennetto, Jason. "The Investigation: Bath filled with explosives found at 'operational base' of terrorists", The Independent, 2005-07-14. Retrieved on 2006-12-03.</ref><ref>Kirby, Terry. "Tracing source of the explosives may reveal connection to al-Qa'ida", The Independent, 2005-07-14. Retrieved on 2006-12-03.</ref><ref>"Police hunt bomb team accomplices", BBC News, 2005-07-15. Retrieved on 2006-12-03.</ref> The bombs were probably placed on the floors of the trains and bus.

Police investigators identified four men whom they alleged had in fact been suicide bombers. This would make the 7 July incident the first suicide bombings in Western Europe.<ref>Eggen, Dan, Scott Wilson. "Suicide Bombs Potent Tools of Terrorists", The Washington Post, 2005-07-17. Retrieved on 2006-12-03.</ref> French Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy caused consternation at the British Home Office when he briefed the press that one of the names had been described the previous year at an Anglo-French security meeting as an asset of British Intelligence. This was denied by then Home Secretary Charles Clarke, or at any rate he described this as "not his recollection, to say the least".

Vincent Cannistraro, former head of the CIA's anti-terrorism centre, told The Guardian that "two unexploded bombs" were recovered as well as "mechanical timing devices", although this claim was explicitly rejected by the Metropolitan Police.<ref>Muir, Hugh, Rosie Cowan. "Four bombs in 50 minutes - Britain suffers its worst-ever terror attack", The Guardian, 2005-07-08. Retrieved on 2006-12-03.</ref>

It has been reported that the intention was to have four explosions on the Underground forming a cross of fire with arms in the four cardinal directions, possibly centered symbolically at King's Cross. It was said that one bomber was turned away from the Underground as the explosions had already started, and took a bus instead. It is also possible that the fourth bomber meant to take the Northern Line, which was suspended that day due to technical difficulties.

The Underground bombs exploded when trains were crossing, thus affecting two trains with each explosion. This is one of the features which led rapidly to the suspicion of a terrorist attack by suicide bombers as the cause of the explosions.

[edit] Suicide bombings

The four explosions were widely reported as suicide bombings, but at the time the police would only confirm that they believed the bombers died in the bombings. However in the aftermath of the subsequent 21 July 2005 London bombings and the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes, Sir Ian Blair publicly confirmed that they did believe they were dealing with suicide bombers.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>

It is not clear why the bombers carried identifying items, which led to the discovery of the bomb factory in Leeds. The bomb factory appears to have been intended for future use and a number of other explosive devices are said to have been found in the bombers' car at Luton station. In addition, the bombers bought return tickets to London from Luton, implying that they meant to return the way they had come.<ref name="wasitsuicide">Edwards, Jeff. "Exclusive: Was It Suicide?", The Daily Mirror, 2005-07-16. Retrieved on 2006-12-03.</ref> This has led to speculation that the bombers may have expected to survive the attacks, perhaps having been misled about the time that they had to escape or the nature of the devices that they were carrying.<ref name="wasitsuicide" />

The first three bombs exploded within 50 seconds of each other, suggesting that a timing device or remote activation was used.<ref>"Tube bombs "almost simultaneous"", BBC News, 2005-07-09. Retrieved on 2006-12-03.</ref> It is believed that mobile phones were used to remotely detonate the Madrid train bombs, either by using the phones' alarm function or by calling the phone.<ref>"La bolsa bomba que no explotó", Elmundo. Retrieved on 2006-12-03.</ref> The former method would work in the London Underground, but the bombs could not have been detonated by calling the phones as mobile phone signals are not available. As of 19 July 2005, no forensic evidence of either of these mechanisms had been made public, making a manual detonation likely.<ref>Bennetto, Jason. "Revealed: suicide bombers flew together to Karachi", The Independent, 2005-07-19. Retrieved on 2006-12-03.</ref>

The suicide bombing theory came under some dispute with the eyewitness account of Bruce Lait, of Cambridge, as reported in the Cambridge News: 'He and Crystal were helped out of the carriage. As they made their way out, a policeman pointed out where the bomb had been. It was like a huge electricity surge which knocked us out and burst our eardrums. "The policeman said 'mind that hole, that's where the bomb was'. The metal was pushed upwards as if the bomb was underneath the train. They seem to think the bomb was left in a bag, but I don't remember anybody being where the bomb was, or any bag," he said.<ref>""I was in tube bomb carriage - and survived"", Cambridge Evening News, 2005-07-11. Retrieved on 2006-12-03.</ref> This suggests at least one of the bombs may have been planted either on the track, or on the undercarriage.

[edit] The bombers

A police press conference on 12 July provided further details on the progress of the investigation. Investigators focused on a group of four men, three of whom were from Leeds, West Yorkshire, and were reported as being primarily cleanskins, meaning previously unknown to authorities. On 7 July 2005, all four travelled to Luton in Bedfordshire by car, then to London by train. They were recorded on CCTV arriving at King's Cross station at about 08:30 a.m. Property associated with the men was found at the site of the explosions. On 12 July the BBC reported that Deputy Assistant Commissioner Peter Clarke, Metropolitan Police counter-terrorism chief, had said that the property of one of the bombers had been found at both the Aldgate and Edgware Road blasts.

Police raided six properties in the Leeds area on 12 July: two houses in Beeston, two houses in Thornhill, one house in Holbeck and one house in 18 Alexandra Grove, Hyde Park. One man was arrested.

According to West Yorkshire police, a significant amount of explosive material was found in the raids in Leeds and a controlled explosion was carried out at one of the properties. Explosives were also found in the vehicle associated with one of the suspects at Luton railway station and subjected to controlled explosions.<ref>"London bombers "were all British"", BBC News, 2005-07-12. Retrieved on 2006-12-03.</ref><ref>"One London bomber died in blast", BBC News, 2005-07-12. Retrieved on 2006-12-03.</ref><ref>Campbell, Duncan, Sandra Laville. "British suicide bombers carried out London attacks, say police", The Guardian, 2005-07-13. Retrieved on 2006-12-03.</ref><ref>Bennetto, Jason, Ian Herbert. "The suicide bomb plot hatched in Yorkshire", The Independent, 2005-07-13. Retrieved on 2006-12-03.</ref>

The police also raided a residential property on Northern Road in the Buckinghamshire town of Aylesbury on 13 July.

The following men carried out the attacks:

Image:Londonbombing2.jpg
The bombers caught on CCTV at Luton railway station at 07:21 a.m. on 7 July. From left to right, Hasib Hussain, Germaine Lindsay, Mohammad Sidique Khan, and Shehzad Tanweer.<ref>"Image of bombers' deadly journey", BBC News, 2005-07-17. Retrieved on 2006-12-03.</ref> (Image: Crown copyright)
  • Mohammed Sidique Khan - Edgware Road Tube 8.50 a.m. Lived in Dewsbury with his heavily pregnant wife and young child.
  • Shehzad Tanweer - Aldgate Tube 8.50 a.m. Lived in Leeds with his mother and father working in a fish and chips shop.
  • Germaine Lindsay - Russell Square 8.50 a.m. Lived in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire with his pregnant wife.
  • Hasib Hussain - Tavistock Square 9.47 a.m. Lived in Leeds with his brother and sister.

[edit] Luton cell

There has been speculation regarding links between the bombers and another alleged al-Qaeda cell in Luton, which was broken up in August 2004. That group was uncovered after al-Qaeda operative Muhammad Naeem Noor Khan was arrested in Lahore, Pakistan. His laptop computer was said to contain plans for tube attacks in London, as well as attacks on financial buildings in New York and Washington. The group was placed under surveillance, but on 2 August 2004 the New York Times published his name, citing Pakistani sources. The leak caused police in Britain and Canada to make arrests before their investigations were complete. The U.S. government later said they had given the name to some journalists as background, for which Tom Ridge, the U.S. homeland security secretary, apologised.

When the Luton cell was broken up, one of the London bombers, Mohammad Sidique Khan (no known relation), was briefly scrutinised by MI5 who determined that he was not a likely threat and he was not put under surveillance.<ref>Leppard, David. "MI5 judged bomber "no threat"", The Times Online, 2005-07-17. Retrieved on 2006-12-03.</ref>

[edit] Claims of responsibility

At around 12:10 p.m. on 7 July, BBC News reported that a website known to be operated by associates of al-Qaeda had been located with a 200-word statement claiming responsibility for the attacks. The news magazine Der Spiegel in Germany and BBC Monitoring both reported that a group named "Secret Organisation — al-Qaeda in Europe" had posted an announcement claiming responsibility on the al-Qal3ah ("The Castle") Internet forum.<ref>Link to www.qal3ati.com on The Internet Archive</ref> The announcement claims the attacks are a response due to the British involvement in the 2003 invasion of Iraq and the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan. The letter also warned other governments involved in Iraq (mentioning specifically Denmark and Italy) to withdraw troops from Iraq and Afghanistan. A Saudi commentator in London noted that the statement was grammatically poor, and that a Qur'anic quotation was incorrect. This has been disputed.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>

The attacks bear similarities to the 11 March 2004 Madrid train bombings and suggest an attack in the style of al-Qaeda. Budapest-based security analyst Sebestyén Gorka told the Reuters wire service that "the first thing that's very obvious is the synchronised nature of the attacks, and that's pretty classic for Al-Qaeda or organisations related to al-Qaeda".

In the opinion of former Metropolitan Police Commissioner Lord Stevens of Kirkwhelpington, before the identity of the bombers became known, the bombers were almost certainly born or based in Britain. The attacks would have required extensive preparation and prior reconnaissance efforts, and a familiarity with bomb-making and the London transport network as well as access to significant amounts of bomb-making equipment and chemicals. The most likely suspects were said to be individuals who had been to the al-Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan prior to 2001. As many as 3,000 British born or based people are thought to have been trained in the camps and may since have trained others.<ref>"Police appeal for bombing footage", BBC News, 2005-07-10. Retrieved on 2006-12-03.</ref>

Some newspaper editorials in Iran, however, have blamed the bombing on British or American authorities seeking to further justify their War on Terrorism, and have claimed that the plan that included the bombings also involved increasing harassment of Muslims in Europe.<ref>"Iran press blames West for blasts", BBC News, 2005-07-11. Retrieved on 2006-12-03.</ref>

On 13 August 2005 The Independent newspaper reported, quoting police and MI5 sources, that the 7 July bombers acted independently of an al-Qaeda terror mastermind someplace abroad.<ref>Bennetto, Jason, Ian Herbert. "London bombings: the truth emerges", The Independent, 2005-08-13. Retrieved on 2006-12-03.</ref>

On 1 September 2005, al-Qaeda officially claimed responsibility for the attacks in a videotape aired on the Arab television network al Jazeera.

[edit] Translated statement

Within hours after the attack, someone using the name "Nur al-Iman" and identified as a "new guest", posted a statement on the Al-Qal3ah website which claimed responsibility on behalf of "The Secret Organisation Group of Al-Qaeda of Jihad Organisation in Europe". The following is a translation of the statement:

In the name of God, the merciful, the compassionate, may peace be upon the cheerful one and undaunted fighter, Prophet Muhammad, Allah's peace be upon him.
Nations of Islam and Arab nations: Rejoice, for it is time to take revenge against the British Zionist crusader government in retaliation for the massacres Britain is committing in Iraq and Afghanistan. The heroic Mujahideen [holy warriors] have carried out a blessed raid [ghazw] in London. Britain is now burning with fear, terror and panic in its northern, southern, eastern, and western quarters.
We have repeatedly warned the British government and people. We have fulfilled our promise and carried out our blessed military raid in Britain after our Mujahideen exerted strenuous efforts over a long period of time to ensure the success of the raid.
We continue to warn the governments of Denmark and Italy and all the crusader governments that they will be punished in the same way if they do not withdraw their troops from Iraq and Afghanistan. He who warns is excused.
Allah says: "If ye will aid (the cause of) Allah, He will aid you, and plant your feet firmly"

The quotation at the end of the statement is from the Qur'an, in Sura 47:7. The translation of the quotation given here is by Abdullah Yusuf Ali.

The term ghazw, here translated as "raid", has historically often been used in Islamic contexts with the connotations of an attack on the enemies of an Islamic state seen as a meritorious act; those who carry out such attacks (ghazawat) are called ghazis.

This anonymous post has come under dispute as MSNBC TV translator Jacob Keryakes noted that the claim of responsibility contained an error in one of the Quranic verses it cited. That suggests that the claim may be phony, he said. "This is not something al-Qaida would do," he said.<ref>"Islamic group claims London attack", MSNBC, 2005-07-07. Retrieved on 2006-12-03.</ref>

[edit] Abu Hafs al-Masri Brigade

A second claim of responsibility was posted on the Internet on 9 July, claiming the attacks for another Al Qaeda-linked group, Abu Hafs al-Masri Brigade. The group has previously falsely claimed responsibility for events that were the result of technical problems, such as the 2003 London blackout and 2003 North America blackout.<ref>Johnston, Chris. "Tube blasts "almost simultaneous"", The Guardian, 2005-07-09. Retrieved on 2006-12-03.</ref> They have also claimed authorship of the 2004 Madrid train bombings.

[edit] Tape of Mohammad Sidique Khan

On 1 September 2005, Al Jazeera aired a tape featuring Mohammad Sidique Khan, one of the bombers, in which he said:

I and thousands like me are forsaking everything for what we believe. Our drive and motivation doesn't come from tangible commodities that this world has to offer. Our religion is Islam, obedience to the one true God and following the footsteps of the final prophet messenger.
Your democratically elected governments continuously perpetuate atrocities against my people all over the world. And your support of them makes you directly responsible, just as I am directly responsible for protecting and avenging my Muslim brothers and sisters.
Until we feel security you will be our targets and until you stop the bombing, gassing, imprisonment and torture of my people we will not stop this fight. We are at war and I am a soldier. Now you too will taste the reality of this situation.

The tape had been edited and also featured Al Qaeda number two, Ayman al-Zawahiri, in a way intended to suggest a direct link between Khan and Al Qaeda. There has been no report that Khan said anything linking the bombing to Al Qaeda.

A more complete transcription of the tape is available at Wikisource.

[edit] Tape of Shehzad Tanweer

On the eve of the first anniversary of the attacks (6 July 2006), Al Jazeera aired another taped message from one of the bombers - Shehzad Tanweer. He said:

For the non-Muslims in Britain, you may wonder what you have done to deserve this. You are those who have voted in your government who in turn have and still continue to this day continue to oppress our mothers and children, brothers and sisters from the east to the west in Palestine, Afghanistan, Iraq and Chechnya. Your government has openly supported the genocide of more than 150,000 innocent Muslims in Fallujah.
We are 100 per cent committed to the cause of Islam. We love death the way you love life. I tell all you British citizens to stop your support to your lying British government and to the so-called war on terror. And ask yourselves: why would thousands of men be ready to give their lives for the cause of Muslims?
What you have witnessed now is only the beginning of a series of attacks which will intensify and continue to until you pull all your troops out of Afghanistan and Iraq. Until you stop all financial and military support to the US and Israel and until you release all Muslim prisoners from Belmarsh and your other concentration camps. And know that if you fail to comply with this then know that this war will never stop and that we are willing to give our lives 100 times over for the cause of Islam. You will never experience peace until our children in Palestine, our mothers and sisters in Kashmir, and our brothers in Afghanistan and Iraq feel peace.

The film again featured commentary from the al-Qaeda deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri. He says Tanweer's beliefs explain why he was drawn into al-Qaeda, and why he and Mohammad Sidique Khan "wished that they could carry out a martyrdom operation". Al-Zawahiri adds that Shehzad Tanweer and Mohammad Sidique Khan attended an al-Qaeda camp. It was known that the two had visited Pakistan, and visited madrassas, but the claim that they been trained at an al-Qaeda camp is new.

[edit] Warnings and conspiracy theories

Further information: Rumours and conspiracy theories about the July 2005 London bombings

[edit] Effects

[edit] Security alerts

Although there were security alerts at many locations, no other terrorist incidents occurred outside central London. Suspicious packages were destroyed in controlled explosions in Edinburgh, Brighton, Coventry, and Darlington. Security across the UK was raised to the highest alert level.

Many other countries raised their own terror alert status (for example: Canada, United States, France, and Germany), especially for public transport. For a time US commanders ordered troops based in the UK to avoid London.

Police sniper units were reported to be following as many as a dozen Al Qaeda suspects in Britain. The covert armed teams were under orders to shoot to kill if surveillance suggested that a terror suspect was carrying a bomb and he refused to surrender if challenged.<ref>"Police snipers track al-Qaeda suspects", The Times Online, 2005-07-17. Retrieved on 2006-12-03.</ref>

It was initially rumoured, incorrectly, that a man was found in Canary Wharf (London), armed with a bomb but he was shot down by a sniper before he could carry out any attack.

[edit] Transport and telecoms disruption

Image:Avoid London (2005-07-07).jpg
Sign on M25 ring road reads:
  AVOID LONDON
  AREA CLOSED
  TURN ON RADIO

Vodafone reported that its mobile phone network reached capacity at about 10:00 a.m. on the day of the incident, and it was forced to initiate emergency procedures to prioritise emergency calls (ACCOLC, the "access overload control scheme"). Other mobile phone networks also reported failures. The BBC speculated that the phone system was closed by the security services to prevent the possibility of mobile phones being used to trigger bombs. Although this option was considered, it later became clear that the intermittent unavailability of both mobile and landline phone systems were due to excessive usage.

For most of the day, central London's public transport system was effectively crippled because of the complete closure of the underground system, the closure of the Zone 1 bus networks, and the evacuation of Russell Square. Bus services restarted at 4 p.m. the same day, and most mainline train stations reopened shortly after. Tourist river vessels were pressed into service to provide a free alternative to the overcrowded trains and buses. Thousands of people chose to walk home or make their way to the nearest Zone 2 bus or train station. Most of the Underground aside from the affected stations restarted the next morning, though some commuters chose to stay at home.

Much of King's Cross station was also closed, with the ticket hall and waiting area being used as a makeshift hospital to treat casualties on the spot. Although the station reopened later in the day, only suburban rail services were able to use it, with Intercity trains terminating at Peterborough (the service was fully restored the following Saturday). King's Cross St. Pancras tube station remained open only to Metropolitan Line services in order to facilitate the ongoing recovery and investigation effort for a week, though Victoria Line services were restored on 15 July and Northern Line services on 18 July. St. Pancras Station, located next to King's Cross, was shut on Thursday afternoon with all Midland Mainline trains terminating in Leicester disrupting services to Sheffield, Nottingham and Derby.

By 25 July there were still disruptions to the Piccadilly Line (which was not running between Arnos Grove and Hyde Park Corner in either direction), the Hammersmith & City Line (which was only running a shuttle service between Hammersmith and Paddington) and the Circle Line (which was suspended in its entirety). The Metropolitan line resumed services to between Moorgate and Aldgate on 25 July. The Hammersmith and City was also operating a peak hours service between Whitechapel and Baker Street. Most of the tube network was however running normally.

On 2 August the Hammersmith & City Line resumed normal service; the Circle Line service was still suspended, though all Circle Line stations are also served by other lines. The Piccadilly Line service resumed on 4 August.

[edit] Economic impact

There were limited immediate reactions to the attack in the world economy as measured by financial market and exchange rate activity. The pound fell 0.89 cents to a 19-month low against the U.S. dollar. However, stock markets fell less than some had feared. The FTSE 100 Index fell by about 200 points in the two hours after the first attack. This was its biggest fall since the start of the war in Iraq, and it triggered the stock market's special measures, restricting panic selling and aimed at ensuring market stability. However, by the time the market closed it had recovered to only 71.3 points (1.36%) down on the previous day's three-year closing high. Markets in France, Germany, the Netherlands and Spain also closed about 1% down on the day.

US market indexes rose slightly, in part because the dollar index rose sharply against the pound and the euro. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 31.61 to 10,302.29. The Nasdaq Composite Index rose 7.01 to 2075.66. The S&P 500 rose 2.93 points to 1197.87 after declining up to 1%. Every benchmark gained 0.3%.<ref>Lawrence, Dune. "U.S. Stocks Rise, Erasing Losses on London Bombings; Gap Rises", Bloomberg, 2005-07-07. Retrieved on 2006-12-03. </ref>

The markets picked up again on 8 July as it became clear that the damage caused by the bombings was not as great as initially thought. By close of trading the market had fully recovered to above its level at start of trading on 7 July. Insurers in the UK tend to re-insure their terrorist liabilities in excess of the first £75,000,000 with Pool Re, a mutual insurer set up by the government with leading insurers. Pool Re has substantial reserves and newspaper reports indicated that claims would easily be covered.

On 9 July, the Bank of England, HM Treasury and the Financial Services Authority revealed that they had instigated contingency plans immediately after the attacks to ensure that the UK financial markets could keep trading. This involved the activation of a "secret chatroom" on the British Government's Financial Sector Continuity website, which allowed the institutions to communicate with the country's banks and market dealers.<ref>"Banks talked via secret chatroom", BBC News, 2005-07-08. Retrieved on 2006-12-03.</ref>

[edit] Response

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Billboard showing support in Prishtina, Kosovo
Image:SkyNewsJuly7.jpg
Sky News carried the first reports of an explosion at around 9:15am on July 7th 2005.

[edit] Media response

Rolling news coverage of the attacks was broadcast throughout 7 July, by both BBC One and ITV1 uninterrupted until 7pm. Sky News did not carry any advertisements for 24 hours. ITN later confirmed that its coverage on ITV1 was its longest uninterrupted on-air broadcast in its 50 year history. Television coverage was notable for the use of mobile phone video sent in from members of the public and live shots from traffic CCTV cameras. Local and national radio also generally either suspended regular programming for news reports, or provided regular updates as part of scheduled shows.

Many films and drama broadcasts were cancelled or postponed on grounds of taste. For example, BBC Radio 4 pulled its scheduled Classic Serial without explanation; it was to have been John Buchan's Greenmantle, about the revolt of Muslims against British interests abroad. ITV replaced the movies The X Files, in which a building is partly destroyed by a bomb, with Stakeout, and The Siege, where a bomb destroys a bus full of passengers, with Gone in 60 Seconds. Even the BBC flagship soap EastEnders was forced to re-edit that night's episode, which contained a sequence involving a house explosion, ambulances and survivors choking from smoke inhalation. Sky One broadcast an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation in place of Terror Attacks: Could You Survive ...?. Also Viacom-owned music channels MTV, VH1, TMF and all their sub-channels broadcasted a 'sombre' music playlist for the rest of the day, and into some of the next (the MTV studios were situated in Camden Town, close to some of the bomb sites).

The bbc.co.uk website recorded an all time bandwidth peak of 11 Gb/s at 12:00 on 7 July. BBC News received some 1 billion total hits on the day of the event (including all images, text and HTML), serving some 5.5 terabytes of data. At peak times during the day there were 40,000 page requests per second for the BBC News website. The previous day's announcement of the 2012 Olympics being awarded to London caused a peak of around 5 Gb/s. The previous all time high at bbc.co.uk was caused by the announcement of the Michael Jackson verdict, which used 7.2 Gb/s.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>

On Tuesday 12 July it was reported that the far-right political party, the British National Party, released leaflets showing images of the "Number 30 Bus" after it was blown up. The slogan "Maybe now it's time to start listening to the BNP" was printed beside the photo. The BNP were accused of using the leaflet to incite racial hatred. The leaflet can be found on the BNP website.

In several countries outside the United Kingdom, governments and media outlets perceived that the UK was lenient towards radical Islamist militants (as long as they were involved in activities outside of the UK), as well as the UK's refusal to extradite or prosecute suspects of terror acts committed outside of the UK, led to London being sometimes called Londonistan, and have called these purported policies into question (New York Times, Le Figaro). Such policies were believed to be a cynical attempt of quid pro quo: the UK allegedly exchanged an absence of attacks on its soil against toleration.

[edit] Official report

The official report into the bombings was released on 11 May 2006. The BBC have published a narrative using information from the report and elsewhere.

The report is not final: some material has been withheld temporarily or permanently, and more remains to be discovered.

[edit] Leaked report in The Observer

On 9 April 2006 The Observer newspaper published leaked details of the first draft of a forthcoming Home Office report on the bombings, compiled for the then Home secretary Charles Clarke by a senior civil servant.<ref>Townsend, Mark. "Leak reveals official story of London bombings", The Guardian, 2006-04-09. Retrieved on 2006-12-03.</ref> This section includes only information about a forthcoming report gleaned from a newspaper article, and should be read as such rather than as verified fact.

The article reports that the attack was planned probably with a budget of only a few hundred pounds by four men using information from the internet. While they had visited Pakistan, there was no direct support or planning by al-Qaeda; meetings in Pakistan were ideological, rather than practical. All four bombers died in the suicide bombings. While there was a search for a fifth suspect after police found an unused rucksack of explosives in the bombers' abandoned car at Luton station, there was no fifth bomber.

While the videotape of Mohammed Sidique Khan released after the attacks had footage of Osama bin Laden's deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri, the Home Office believes the tape was edited after the suicide attacks and dismisses it as evidence of al-Qaeda's involvement in the attacks.

Khan was the ringleader. Links to other suspected terrorists are not discussed for legal reasons. The bombers-to-be followed an extreme interpretation of Islam, and they, in particular Jermaine Lindsay, were happy to enjoy a Western lifestyle. The attacks were largely motivated by concerns over British foreign policy, seen as deliberately anti-Muslim, and the promise of immortality.

The report does not say why no action was taken against the suspect bombers beforehand, although Mohammed Sidique Khan was identified by intelligence officers months before the attack. A separate report into the attacks by the Commons intelligence and security committee will ask why MI5 did not maintain surveillance of Khan.

[edit] Criticism of the leaked Observer report

Conservative spokesman Patrick Mercer said 'A series of reports such as this narrative simply does not answer questions such as the reduced terror alert before the attack, the apparent involvement of al-Qaeda and links to earlier or later terrorist plots.'

[edit] Historical comparisons

The bombings were the deadliest attack in London since a V2 rocket killed 131 people in Stepney on 27 March 1945, near the end of World War II. They were the deadliest post-World War II incident in the capital since the Harrow & Wealdstone station rail crash of 1952 left 112 dead.

They were the second-deadliest terrorist attack in the UK, after the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland (270 dead). Other terrorist bombings in recent history include the 1998 Omagh bombing (29 dead) and the 1974 Birmingham pub bombing (21 dead). The 2005 attacks are the first coordinated suicide bombings perpetrated by Islamic Extremists in the history of London. The three train bombings, with a total of 39 dead, constitute one of the deadliest incidents in the peacetime history of the London Underground, with more casualties than the King's Cross fire of November 1987 (31 dead), but less than the Moorgate tube crash of February 1975 (43 dead) and the wartime bombings of Balham station (14 October 1940) - 65 dead, and Bank station (11 January 1941) - 56 dead, or the panic crush during an air raid at Bethnal Green station on 3 March 1943 when 173 people lost their lives.

The London Underground had been targeted by bombers before. In January 1885 a bomb exploded on a Metropolitan Line train at Gower Street (now Euston Square) station, and in February 1913 a crude bomb - probably the work of Suffragettes - was discovered at Westbourne Park station. Bombs planted by the Irish Republican Army (IRA) exploded at Tottenham Court Road and Leicester Square station on 3 February 1939. In August and December 1973 the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) left several explosive devices in the tube network, and again in February and March 1976. On 4 March 1976, eight people were injured by a bomb in Cannon Street; 11 days later, nine people were injured by an premature explosion at West Ham tube station. Seconds after that incident, Julius Stephen, the driver of the train, was shot dead when he attempted to pursue the fleeing bomber. On the same day, a further device found at Oxford Circus station was defused, while another bomb exploded on an empty train at Wood Green station as it was preparing to enter the reversing siding there. Had it exploded later, the train would have been packed with football supporters leaving after the Arsenal match that evening.

The 2005 attack featured the most explosions in a single terrorist incident in a UK city since Bloody Friday in Belfast in July 1972 (22 bombs planted). They were the world's deadliest attack on a public transport system since the Madrid train bombings of 11 March 2004 (191 dead), although the March 1995 Sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway injured far more people.

There has only been one other bomb explosion on a London bus in recent times: on 18 February 1996 at Wellington Street near Aldwych, in which the only fatality was the IRA member transporting the device. This was thought to have been the result of the accidental detonation of a bomb that he intended to plant elsewhere, rather than a suicide attack.

The 2005 attacks were the first terrorist (i.e. politically motivated) killings in London since 30 April 1999, when the neo-Nazi David Copeland nailbombed the Admiral Duncan pub in Soho in a homophobic attack, killing three people. They were also the first suicide bombings ever carried out anywhere in Western Europe.

In 1995, the GIA Islamist militant group staged a series of attacks against the French public, targeting public transportation. These attacks killed 8 and injured more than 100. The attacks were apparently designed to be a broadening of the civil war in Algeria, a former French colony.

[edit] Contacts

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'One week anniversary' bombings appeal.

[edit] See also

[edit] References

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[edit] External links

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7 July 2005 London bombings

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