Four terrorists explode bombs on London Transport system
Four terrorists explode bombs on London Transport system, July 7 2005
What so many had feared was almost inevitable, however great the vigilance of the security services, happened on July 7 2005: for the first time British Muslim terrorists carried out coordinated suicide bombings in London. One explosion occurred on the Circle Line eastbound; another westbound; a third on a southbound Piccadilly Line train: all three occurred within a minute of one another during rush-hour. A fourth happened on a bus almost an hour later.
It seems the bombers had wished to create a symbolic North/South/East/West cross pattern of explosions, but for whatever reason one of the bombers was unable to enter the underground system to detonate his device there – it is speculated he had been due to enter The Northern Line - instead exploding it on a double decker bus. The bombers were ruthless and efficient: all three underground devices were exploded as the train travelled in passed another, the intention being to maximise damage and casualties; the bus bomb was detonated when the vehicle was at a crowded location.
Britain had endured terrorist attacks by Irish Republican groups during the 70s 80s and 90s, but the 7/7 bombings shocked the public particularly because these were suicide bombers, and of British origin (though Germaine Lindsay moved here from Jamaica when he was five). The three of Asian ethnicity were from Yorkshire.
In addition to the suicide bombers, 52 people died in the attack, and an estimated 700 were injured. London was thrown into panic and confusion; the mobile phone network went into overload and had to be shut down apart from emergency use.
‘Martyrdom’ videotapes made by two of the bombers confirmed this was as they saw it revenge for British involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq. Whether al-Qaeda was involved or not remains open to question, but such closely coordinated attacks as the 7/7 outrage are typical of its approach.
More famous dates here
5967 views since 23rd February 2007
On this day: