7 July 2005 London bombings
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"7/7" redirects here. For the calendar date, see 7 July.
7 July 2005 London bombings
7 July 2005, 8:50 am–9:47 am (GMT)
Transport in London
The 7 July 2005 London bombings, also known as 7/7, were a series of coordinated suicide attacks on London’s public transport system during the morning rush hour. The bombings were carried out by four Muslim men, three of British Pakistani and one of British Jamaican descent, who were motivated by Britain’s involvement in the Iraq War.
At 08:50, three bombs exploded within fifty seconds of each other on three London Underground trains, a fourth exploding an hour later at 09:47 on a double-decker bus in Tavistock Square. The explosions appear to have been caused by home-made organic peroxide-based devices, packed into rucksacks and detonated by the bombers themselves, all four of whom died. 52 other people were killed and around 700 were injured.
2005 London bombings
September 11, 2001 attacks
2001 shoe bomb plot
2002 Bali bombings
2003 Mike’s Place bombing
2004 Madrid train bombings
11 July 2006 Mumbai train bombings
2006 transatlantic aircraft plot
2007 London car bombs
2007 Glasgow International Airport attack
2008 Islamabad Marriott Hotel bombing
Saajid Badat · Richard Reid
Attacks on the London Underground
On the 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. Pancrasabout 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, along with a wall that later collapsed. There were two other trains at Edgware Road: an unidentified train on platform 2, and a southbound 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 (car no 166), causing severe damage to the rear of that carriage, as well as the front of the second one. 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. The effects of the bombs are thought to have varied due to the differing characteristics of the tunnels.
- 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 destructive force.
- The Piccadilly Line is a deep tunnel, up to 30 m (100 ft) underground, with narrow (3.56 m, or 11 ft 8¼ in) single-track tubes and just 15 cm (6 in) clearances. This confined space reflected the blast force, concentrating its effect.
On the bus
Locations of the bombings
- 09:47 — An explosion occurred in Tavistock Square on the No. 30, aDennis Trident 2 double-decker bus, fleet number 17758, registration LX03 BUF, two years in service at the time, operated by Stagecoach LondonStratford (SD) depot, travelling its route from Marble Arch to Hackney Wick.
Earlier, the bus had passed through the King’s 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 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 Live 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 Hussainas the person with the bomb on the bus. The bus was running off its normal route at the time of the explosion; it was in Woburn Place, because its usual route along Euston Road had been closed, due to the earlier bombing of the tube train between Kings Cross and Russell Square.
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 later found on underground trains and destroyed using controlled explosions. Police later said they were not bombs.
The bombed bus was subsequently removed by low loader (and covered in a tarpaulin) for forensic examination at a secure MOD site. The vehicle was ultimately returned to Stagecoach, and sold for breaking. A replacement bus for 17758 was a new Alexander Dennis Enviro400, fleet number 18500 (LX55 HGC), named "Spirit of London".
The bombers were named as:
- Mohammad Sidique Khan (30) – Edgware Road Tube 8:50 a.m. Lived inDewsbury with his wife and young child. (Hasina Patel miscarried August 2005).
- Shehzad Tanweer (22) – Aldgate Tube 8:50 a.m. Lived in Leeds with his mother and father working in a fish-and-chip shop.
- Germaine Lindsay (19) – Russell Square 8:50 a.m. Lived in Aylesbury,Buckinghamshire with his pregnant wife and young son .
- Hasib Hussain (18) – Tavistock Square 9:47 a.m. Lived in Leeds with his brother Imran and sister-in-law Shazia.
Charles Clarke, Home Secretary when the attacks occurred, described the bombers as "cleanskins," meaning previously unknown to authorities. On the day of the attacks, all four had 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. On 12 July, the BBC reported that Deputy Assistant Commissioner Peter Clarke, Metropolitan Police counter-terrorism chief, had said that property belonging to one of the bombers had been found at both the Aldgate and Edgware Road blasts.
Two of the bombers made videotapes describing their reasons for becoming what they called "soldiers". In a videotape aired by Al Jazeera on 1 September 2005, Mohammad Sidique Khan, described his motivation. The tape had been edited and also featured Al Qaeda member, Ayman al-Zawahiri, in a way intended to suggest a direct link between Khan and Al Qaeda; however, there has been no report that Khan said anything linking the bombing to Al Qaeda.
Mohammad Sidique Khan in video aired byAl Jazeera
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.
What have you witnessed now is only the beginning of a string of attacks that will continue and become stronger until you pull your forces out of Afghanistan and Iraq. And until you stop your financial and military support to America and Israel.
Tanweer argued that the non-Muslims of Britain deserve such attacks because they voted for a government which "continues to oppress our mothers, children, brothers and sisters in Palestine, Afghanistan, Iraq and Chechnya."
Number of fatalities
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 explosiveswere used, and, as the blasts were thought to have been simultaneous, that synchronised timed detonators were employed. This changed as further information became available. Home-made organic peroxide-based devices were used, according to a May 2006 report from the British government’s Intelligence and Security Committee.
Fifty-six people, including the four suicide bombers, 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.
Investigators identified four men whom they alleged had been suicide bombers. This would make 7 July incident the first suicide bombings in Western Europe. The then French Interior Minister (later to become French President) 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. The then Home Secretary Charles Clarke later said that this was "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.
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 centred 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 speculated that the fourth bomber meant to take the Northern Line. Whilst it has been widely reported that the Northern line was suspended, it was in fact serving all destinations at the time of the attacks, having previously been partly suspended because of a faulty train. Northern Line trains were extremely crowded as a result of the earlier disruption.
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.
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. They also raided a residential property on Northern Road in theBuckinghamshire town of Aylesbury on 13 July.
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 bombers, Shehzad Tanweer, at Luton railway station and subjected to controlled explosions.
There has been speculation regarding links between the bombers and another alleged Islamist cell in Luton, Bedfordshire, which was broken up in August 2004. That group was uncovered after 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 andWashington. 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 securitysecretary, 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.
March 2007 arrests
On 22 March 2007, three men were arrested in connection with 7 July bombings. Two men were arrested at 1 pm at Manchester Airport, attempting to board a plane due to depart for Pakistan at around 4.30 pm that afternoon. They were apprehended by undercover officers who had been following the men as part of a surveillance operation. They had not intended to arrest the men that day, but felt they could not risk letting the suspects leave Britain. The other man was arrested in the Beeston area of Leeds, West Yorkshire, at an address on the street where one of the suicide bombers had lived before the attacks.
May 2007 arrests
On 9 May 2007 police made four further arrests, three in Yorkshire and one in Selly Oak, Birmingham. Hasina Patel, widow of the presumed ringleader Mohammed Sidique Khan, was among those arrested for "commissioning, preparing or instigating acts of terrorism".
Three of those arrested, including Patel, were released on 15 May 2007. The fourth, Khalid Khaliq, an unemployed single father of three, was charged with possessing an al-Qaeda training manual on 17 July 2005, but this charge was not related to 7 July bombing. The possession of a document containing information likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism carries a maximum 10-year jail sentence.
Deportation of Sheikh Abdullah el-Faisal
Sheikh Abdullah el-Faisal was deported to his country of origin, Jamaica, from Britain on Friday 25 May 2006 after reaching the parole date in his prison sentence. He was found guilty of three charges of soliciting the murder of Jews, Americans and Hindus and two charges of using threatening words to stir up racial hatred in 2003 and after his appeal was sentenced to seven years in prison. In 2006 John Reid alleged, to MPs, that el-Faisal had influenced Jamaican-born Briton Germaine Lindsay.
Investigation of Mohammad Sidique Khan
The Guardian reported 3 May 2007 that police had investigated Mohammad Sidique Khan twice in 2005. The newspaper said it "learned that on 27 January 2005, police took a statement from the manager of a garage in Leeds which had loaned Khan a courtesy car while his vehicle was being repaired. It also said that "On the afternoon of 3 February an officer from Scotland Yard’s anti-terrorism branch carried out inquiries with the company which had insured a car in which Khan was seen driving almost a year earlier". Nothing about these inquiries appeared in the report by parliament’s intelligence and security committee after it investigated 7 July attacks. Scotland Yard described the 2005 inquiries as "routine", while security sources said they were related to the fertiliser bomb plot.
Reports of warnings
While no warnings before 7 July bombings have been officially documented or acknowledged, the following are sometimes quoted as indications either of the events to come or of some foreknowledge.
- One of the London bombers, Mohammad Sidique Khan, was briefly scrutinised by MI5 who determined that he was not a likely threat and he was not put under surveillance.
- Some news stories, current a few hours after the attacks, raised a query over the British government’s position that there had been no warning or prior intelligence. It was reported on CBS News that a senior Israeli official said that British police told the Israeli Embassy in London minutes before the explosions that they had received warnings of possible terror attacks in the city. This was later retracted by AP. An Associated Press report carried on a number of news sites, including The Guardian, attributed the initial report of a warning to an Israeli "Foreign Ministry official, speaking on condition of anonymity", but added Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom‘s later denial on Israel Defense Forces Radio: "There was no early information about terrorist attacks." A similar report on the site of right-wing Israeli paper Israel National News/Arutz Sheva attributed the story to "Army Radio quoting unconfirmed reliable sources." Although the report has been retracted, the original stories are still circulated as a result of their presence on the news websites’ archives.
- In an interview with the Portuguese newspaper Público a month after the 2004 Madrid train bombings, Syrian-born cleric SheikOmar Bakri Muhammad warned that "a very well-organised" London-based group which he called Al Qaeda Europe, was "on the verge of launching a big operation." In December 2004 Bakri vowed that if Western governments did not change their policies, Muslims would give them "a 9/11, day after day after day."
- According to a 17 November 2004 post on the Newsweek website, US authorities in 2004 had evidence that terrorists were planning a possible attack in London. In addition, the article stated that, "fears of terror attacks have prompted FBI agents based in the U.S. Embassy in London to avoid travelling on London’s popular underground railway (or tube) system."
- In an interview published in the German magazine Bild am Sonntag dated 10 July 2005, Meir Dagan, head of the Mossad, said that the Mossad office in London was alerted to the impending attack at 8:43, six minutes before the first bomb went off. The warning of a possible attack came as a result of an investigation into an earlier terrorist bombing in Tel Aviv, which may have been related to the London bombings.
- Then-French Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy caused consternation at the British Home Office when he briefed the press that several of the secondary plotters had been arrested and released as part of an attempt to find their superiors, the year prior. This was adamantly denied by then-Home Secretary Charles Clarke.
The Daily Telegraph reported that radical imam Anwar al-Awlaki inspired the bombers. The bombers transcribed lectures of al-Awlaki while plotting the bombings. His materials were found in the possession of accused accomplices of the suicide bombers. Awlaki has also been linked to the 2006 Toronto terrorism case, 2007 Fort Dix attack plot, Fort Hood shooting, and most recently the failed attack on Northwest Airlines Flight 253
Effects and response
Main article: Response to the 2005 London bombings
Tony Blair announces the attack
at the G8 summit.
Initial 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 plc, 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. A couple of hours after the bombings, the Home Secretary Charles Clarke confirmed the incidents were terrorist attacks.
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, Southampton, Portsmouth, Darlington and Nottingham. Security across the UK was raised to the highest alert level. The Times reported on 17 July 2005 that police sniper units were following as many as a dozen Al Qaeda suspects in Britain. The covert armed teams were put under orders to shoot to kill if surveillance suggested that a terror suspect was carrying a bomb and he refused to surrender if challenged. A member of S019, Scotland Yard’s elite firearms unit, said: “These units are trained to deal with any eventuality. Since the London bombs they have been deployed to look at certain people.”
Transport and telecoms disruption
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 was due to excessive usage.
TURN ON RADIO, as seen on a sign on M25 ring road
Tube stations closed
all across London, causing chaos.
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. Local Lifeboats were called in to act as safety boats, including the Sheerness Lifeboat from the Isle of Sheppey in Kent. Thousands of people chose to walk home or make their way to the nearest Zone 2 bus or train station. Most of the Underground apart 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 GNER trains terminating atPeterborough (the service was fully restored on 9 July). King’s Cross St. Pancras tube stationremained 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 andNorthern Line services on 18 July. St Pancras railway 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 betweenArnos 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 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.
There were limited immediate reactions to the attack in the world economy as measured by financial market and exchange rateactivity. The pound fell 0.89 cents to a 19-month low against the US$. 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 London Stock Exchange‘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%.
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.
Rolling news coverage of the attacks was broadcast throughout 7 July, by both BBC One andITV1 uninterrupted until 7pm. Sky News did not carry any advertisements for 24 hours. ITNlater 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, the story of an attempt by German secret agents to engineer a jihad against the British in the Middle East during WW1. ITV replaced the moviesThe X Files, in which a building is partly destroyed by a bomb, with Stakeout; and replaced 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. Big Brother 2005 that was going on at the time decided against telling the housemates of the day’s attacks after the producers found out that all relatives and friends of the housemates were well.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). A two-part episode of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, directed by Quentin Tarantino and concerning a suicide bomber, and being trapped underground, due to be shown on 12 July on Five, was postponed for a week.
The BBC Online 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 Olympicsbeing 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.
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. Then Home Secretary Charles Clarke described it as an attempt by the BNP to, "cynically exploit the current tragic events in London to further their spread of hatred".
Governments and media outside the UK have regarded successive British governments as unduly lenient towards radical Islamist militants, so long as they were involved in activities outside the UK. Britain’s reluctance to extradite or prosecute terrorist suspects led to London being dubbed Londonistan. The policies were believed to be a cynical quid pro quo, the UK accused of staving off attacks at home in exchange for refusal to extradite.
Claims of responsibility
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.
Some newspaper editorials in Iran 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.
On 1 September 2005, it was reported that al-Qaeda officially claimed responsibility for the attacks in a videotape aired on the Arab television network al Jazeera. But an official inquiry by the British government reported that the tape claiming responsibility had been edited after the attacks, and that the bombers had no direct support from al Qaeda. Zabi uk-Taifi, an al-Qaeda commander arrested in Pakistan in January 2009, may have had connections to 7 July 2005 bombings, according to Pakistani intelligence sources.
Abu Hafs al-Masri Brigades
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 Brigades. The group has previously falsely claimed responsibility for events that were the result of technical problems, such as the 2003 London blackout and Northeast Blackout of 2003.
Conspiracy theories are typically fostered by apparent contradictions and gaps in an official narrative. As regards the bombings, a belief that the official version of events is incomplete or differs from the facts is a view held by a minority. For example, a survey of 500 British Muslims undertaken by Channel 4 News found that 24% believed the four men blamed for the attacks did not carry them out. Despite the unease with the official version of events, the government has refused to hold a public inquiry, stating that "it would be a drain on resources and tie up key officials and police officers". Then Prime Minister Tony Blair said an independent inquiry would undermine support for the security service. In reaction to revelations about the extent of security service investigations into the bombers prior to the attack, then Shadow Home Secretary, David Davis said: "It is becoming more and more clear that the story presented to the public and Parliament is at odds with the facts."
There have been various alternative explanations or conspiracy theories proposed about the bombings, including the suggestion that the bombers were ‘patsies‘, based on claims about timings of the underground trains and the train from Luton, supposed explosions under the carriages, and allegations of the faking of a photograph of the bombers.. These, and many more theories and observations about the events of the day, are described on various websites, such as the detailed analysis athttp://www.julyseventh.co.uk/. A number of these theories about the 7/7 attacks, including the claims made in the amateur conspiracy film 7/7 Ripple Effect, were addressed by the BBC documentary series The Conspiracy Files, in an episode titled 7/7 first broadcast on 30 June 2009. It highlighted problems with the conspiracy theories it examined, and raised concerns over their authorship.
On the same day of the bombings Peter Power gave interviews on BBC Radio 5 Live and ITV saying that he was involved in an exercise "based on simultaneous bombs going off precisely at the railway stations where it happened this morning". He also gave an interview to the Manchester Evening News where he spoke of "an exercise involving mock broadcasts when it happened for real". After a few days he dismissed it as a "spooky coincidence" on Canadian TV. Jose M. Paulino used the interviews in his book on conspiracy theories.
21 July 2005 bombings
Main article: 21 July 2005 London bombings
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.
Londoners in Trafalgar Square during the two minute silence on the evening of 14 July 2005
The Palazzo Valentini (the provincial seat of government in Rome) mourning the London Bombings. The posters read: "The Province of Rome (is) close to the suffering in London".
Memorial to victims,
Hyde Park, London
7/7 memorial’s pillar
Following the events of the bombings, the United Kingdom and other nations have devised many ways to honour the dead and missing. Most of these memorials included moments of silence, candle-lit vigils, and laying of flowers at the bombing sites. Foreign leaders have also honoured the dead by ordering their flags to be half-staffed, signed books of condolences at embassies of the United Kingdom, and issued messages of support and condolences to the British people.
- The government ordered the Union Flag to be flown at half-mast on 8 July.
- On 9 July, the Bishop of London led prayers for the victims during a service paying tribute to the role of women during World War II.
- A Vigil for the Victims of the London Bombings was held from 5pm on Saturday 9 July, at Friends Meeting House garden, Euston Road, opposite Euston station, London, UK. The vigil was called by Stop the War Coalition, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmamentand Muslim Association of Britain.
- A two minute silence for the victims of the bombings was held on 14 July 2005 throughout Europe.
- On 14 July, thousands attended a vigil at 18:00 on Trafalgar Square. After an initial silence there was a series of speakers for the next two hours. Chief Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks speaking of London said: "It has the courage not to give terror the victory of making us angry and in our anger lose the values that make us what we are. Let that courage unite us now." His words were echoed by many of the other speakers.
- A memorial service was held at St Paul’s Cathedral, on 1 November 2005.
- A two minute silence was held at 12:00 BST on 7 July 2006 across the country to commemorate those who died, or who were affected by the events.
- A permanent memorial was opened by Charles, Prince of Wales on 7 July 2009, four years after the bombings, in Hyde Park, London.
- New Zealand In Auckland, New Zealand, Prince William of Wales signed the book of condolence at the British consulate.
- USA In Washington, DC, the U.S. Army band played God Save the Queen outside the British Embassy in Washington D.C.. Dozens of flower bouquets and notes were left at the embassy with messages such as, "Today, we are all British". US President George W. Bush visited the Embassy on 8 July upon his return from the G8 summit, and signed the book of condolence. On 12 July, a Detroit Symphony Orchestra brass ensemble played God Save the Queen during the pre-game festivities of the Major League Baseball All-Star Game at Comerica Park in Detroit.
- Canada – All federal government buildings and establishments across Canada, including the Peace Tower, and in the United Kingdom.
- New Zealand – Prime Minister Helen Clark requested that flags in New Zealand fly at half-mast the day following the bombings.
- France – President Jacques Chirac requested that flags in France fly at half-mast for 3 days.
Moments of silence
- EU – The European Parliament held a minute of silence to mourn the victims of the explosions.
- Poland – The Polish Parliament, Sejm lower house observed a moment of silence.
- Ireland – The Irish Government organised a two minute silence on Thursday 14 July, at the same time as in the United Kingdom.
- Russia – Flowers were laid at the British Embassy in Moscow as a minute of silence was observed by both staff and locals, who held hands and formed a human chain in solidarity on 8 July 2005.
- Spain – God Save the Queen was played at the changing of the royal guard atPlaza de Oriente in Madrid in memorial to the victims of the attack. The ceremony was attended by the British Ambassador, and members of the Spanish Royal Family. After the Madrid train bombings, the UK hosted a similar ceremony at Buckingham Palace.
- Australia – God Save the Queen was sung at a service at St. Andrew’s Cathedral, Sydney. Prime Minister John Howard read a Bible passage and Phillip Jensen gave a sermon on the problem of evil and what the Bible says about this.
Wikinews has related news:Tributes paid to the victims of 7 July 2005 London bombings
- 1995 Paris Metro bombing
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- 2003 Mike’s Place bombing
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- February 2004 Moscow metro bombing
- 2004 Madrid train bombings
- 2006 Mumbai train bombings
- 2006 transatlantic aircraft plot
- 2007 London car bombs
- 2007 Glasgow International Airport attack
- 2008 Islamabad Marriott Hotel bombing
- Najibullah Zazi
- 2010 Moscow Metro bombings
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Wikinews has news coverage of the London bombings:
- Possible ‘mastermind’ of London bombings captured in Egypt
- Metropolitan Police release photographs of one of the London bombers
- Two-minute silence for London bombings marked across the EU
- London bombing suspects are all British nationals
- Police make significant progress in London bombings investigation
Wikimedia Commons has media related to: London bombing, July 2005
- Official reports
- Greater London Authority report(PDF)
- House of Commons report (PDF)
- Intelligence and Security Committee report – May 2006 (PDF)
- Intelligence and Security Committee report – May 2009 (PDF)
- Crispin Black, 7–7: The London Bombings(London: Gibson Square Books, 2006)
- Police statements
- London Metropolitan Police Police investigation continues into the 7/7 bombings. Retrieved 18 July 2005
- London Metropolitan Police press conference. Retrieved 14 July 2005
- Medical report
- The account of the doctor leading the team at the scene of the Tavistock Square bus bomb. Retrieved 11 August 2005
- News articles
- BBC In-depth report. Retrieved 12 July 2005.
- BBC Animated overview of events. Retrieved July 2005.
- BBC London blasts: At a glance. Retrieved 12 July 2005.
- BBC BBC News – ‘Long-term scars’ of London bombs – 30/11/06
- The Cambridge Evening News London terror attack: The CEN Online blog. 7 July 2005.
- The London News Review "A Letter To The Terrorists, From London". Archived from the original on 16 July 2005.. Retrieved 7 July 2005.
- The Times Online Controlled explosion at home raided by anti-terror police. Retrieved 12 July 2005.
- BBC Online UK Holds two minutes silence to remember the victims. Retrieved 7 July 2006.
- Fire Brigade operations – London Fire Journal
- Archive of Newspaper Front Pages World Wide Following Attack
- Radio broadcasts;
- The Jon Gaunt show originally broadcast live at 9:00 a.m. on 7 July 2005 on BBC London. First mention of events at approximately 27 minutes into the broadcast.
- Memoirs of the Subway Bombings – From MemoryWiki.
- Tributes and obituaries
- Tributes to those who died with portrait photographs
- National Day of Tolerance Petition from Tolerance International UK to make 7 July National Day of Tolerance in Britain.
- Department for Culture, Media and Sport Two minutes of silence on the first anniversary of 7 July 2005.