7 July 2005 London bombingsThe 7 July 2005 London bombings were a series of co-ordinated suicide bombings 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 at 9:47 a.m. in Tavistock Square. The bombings led to a severe, day-long disruption of the city's transport and mobile telecommunications infrastructure.
Fifty-six people were killed in the attacks, including the four suspected bombers, and about 700 injured. 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.
Police investigators identified four men whom they believe to be suicide bombers. These are the first suicide bombings in Western Europe, and are thought to have been planned by Islamist paramilitary organisations based in the United Kingdom; the terrorist organization al-Qaeda claimed responsibility.
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, 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.
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. The 21 July attacks will not be discussed further in this article.
Two more suspicious packages were found on underground trains and were destroyed using controlled explosions. Police later said they were not bombs.
08:50 — Three bombs on the London Underground exploded within fifty seconds of each other.
The first bomb exploded on eastbound Circle Line sub-surface Underground train number 204 between Liverpool Street and Aldgate. The explosion occurred about eight minutes after the train left King's Cross St. Pancras tube station. At the moment of the explosion, the third carriage of the train was approximately 100 yards (90 m) into the tunnel from the end of the Liverpool Street station. 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 westbound Circle Line sub-surface Underground train number 216 at Edgware Road. The bomb exploded about eight minutes after the train left Kings Cross station. The train had just left platform 4 at Edgware Road and was heading for Paddington. There were several other trains near the explosion. An eastbound Circle Line train (arriving at platform 3 at Edgware Road from Paddington) was passing the other train at the time of the explosion and was damaged. A wall that was damaged in the explosion later collapsed. There were two other trains at Edgware Road: an unidentified train on platform 2, and an eastbound Hammersmith and City Line train that had just arrived at platform 1
The third bomb exploded on southbound Piccadilly Line deep-level Underground train number 311 between King's Cross St Pancras and Russell Square. Fortunately, the train driver was assisted by another driver who got on at Kings Cross, and got in the cab to travel to Acton Town. 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. The surrounding tunnel also sustained damage.
It was originally thought that there had been five, rather than three, explosions on the Underground. This was because two 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.
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.
Emergency services surround the wreckage of a bus ripped apart as part of the coordinated terrorist attack on 7 July 2005.
09:47 — An explosion occurred in Tavistock Square on a No. 30 double-decker bus operated by Stagecoach London travelling its route from Marble Arch to Hackney Wick.
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.
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 (BMA) 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.
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.
On July 10, 2005, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Tony Blair announced that some 74 families had been assigned family liaison officers.
At least 90 injuries were reported from Aldgate Station alone. Ninety-five of the injured were taken to the Royal London Hospital where they were treated; 17 were in critical condition. Many others were treated at St Mary's Hospital, Paddington. Individuals who were wounded and walking were treated at the scene; an eyewitness reported that they were "operating on injured people on the concourse at Liverpool Street station".
Paramedics were sent down into the tube system to search for more casualties. St. John Ambulance was called out to assist the London Ambulance Service, and hospitals had to call in off-duty staff, plus doctors from as far afield as Hampshire and Oxfordshire. The ticket hall and waiting area of King's Cross station was used as a temporary hospital for the victims of the Piccadilly Line explosion. Air ambulances were used extensively to provide rapid transportation of specialist medics to the scenes of the explosions. A number of London buses were also used to transport the "walking wounded" to hospital.
At a press conference the following day, July 8, 2005, it was revealed that of 700 people injured in the explosions, 350 were treated on the spot and 208 at Royal London Hospital alone were treated in hospital and 100 of them were kept in hospital overnight. 22 were in a serious or critical condition, and one person subsequently died. Many of the injured were foreign nationals, including people from Sierra Leone, Australia, South Africa, Colombia, Poland, New Zealand, Israel and China. The first fatality to be formally identified was Susan Levy, 53, of Newgate Street Village. Two Irish passport holders were also reported killed, an unidentified woman from New Zealand, and Ciaran Cassidy. There were some difficulties when medical personnel needed to communicate with non-English speakers.
The retrieval of bodies from the Piccadilly Line tunnel was hampered by dangerous conditions, including asbestos, rats and temperatures that reached 60° Celsius (140° Fahrenheit). Because it is a single-line tunnel, there was little room for workers to pass on the outside of the train, therefore they had to work their way through the wreckage, or approach it the long way along the tunnel from Russell Square. There were also concerns that the deep tunnel might be unstable; although in a press conference on July 9, 2005, authorities said there has been no long-term damage to tunnels at any of the sites.
Police believe the four suspected bombers died in the explosions. This suggests that the attacks are the first suicide bombings in the history of the UK.
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. The bombs were probably placed on the floors of the trains and bus.
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 4 explosions on the Underground forming a cross of fire with arms in the 4 cardinal directions, possibly centered symbolically at King's Cross. One bomber was said to have been turned away from the Underground as the explosions had already started, and took a bus instead.
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.
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 suspected bombers' car at Luton station. In addition, the suspected bombers bought return tickets to London from Luton, implying that they meant to return the way they had come. 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.
The fact that the first three bombs exploded within 50 seconds of each other implies some sort of timing device or remote activation. While it is widely believed that mobile phones were used to remotely detonate the Madrid train bombs, a method thought unworkable due to the lack of reliable mobile phone service within the London Underground, the Madrid bombs were apparently activated by the battery of a mobile phone that switched on via the alarm function. As of 19 July 2005, no forensic evidence of such a timer had been made public, making a manual detonation likely.
The suicide bombing theory has come 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.This suggests at least one of the bombs may have been planted either on the track, or on the undercarriage.
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 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.
The police also raided a residential property on Northern Road in the Buckinghamshire town of Aylesbury on 13 July.
The alleged 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.
Hasib Hussain: No 30 bus, age 18, Pakistani descent, from Colenso Mount, Leeds.
Jamal (Germaine) Lindsay: Piccadilly Line train, Jamaican-born resident of Aylesbury.
Mohammad Sidique Khan: Edgware Road train, age 30, married and a recent father, Pakistani descent, from Dewsbury, near Leeds.
Shehzad Tanweer: Aldgate train, age 22, Pakistani descent, from Colwyn Road, Leeds.
Magdi Asdi el-Nashar: Egyptian-born Ph.D. lecturer at the University of Leeds; renter of the house where explosives were found; he was arrested in Cairo on 15 July by Egyptian police After several weeks' detention Egyptian officials exonerated him from having any connection with the blasts.
Ejaz "Jacksy" Fiaz (also named as Eliaz Fiaz): possible co-conspirator, in his early thirties, from Beeston, Leeds. Initially thought to have been the suicide bomber on the Piccadilly Line train; he has disappeared.
Naveed Fiaz: brother of Ejaz, detained by police in the days after the attacks, but released without charge on 22 July. He was connected to three of the bombers via the Hamara Youth Access Point.
Haroon Rashid Aswat: an Al Qaeda operative and possible MI6 informant believed to be the bomb-maker or cell organiser, initially described as a Pakistani in his 30s, who entered Britain through a port some time in June 2005, and left the country on 6 July. Reports on 28 July said he had been arrested in Livingstone, Zambia some days earlier. He was deported to the UK on 7 August and arrested by British police on his arrival. Authorities in the United States have expressed a desire to have him extradited to face charges relating to the setting up of a terrorist training camp in Oregon in 1999...
The U.S. government later said they had given the name to some journalists on background, for which Tom Ridge, the U.S. homeland security secretary, apologised.
When the Luton cell was broken up, one of the alleged 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
On August 13, 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.
On September 1, 2005, al-Qaeda officially claimed responsibility for the attacks in a videotape aired on the Arab television network al Jazeera.
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 (ghazawāt) are called ghāzīs.
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.
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 Allah 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, suggesting a direct link between Khan and Al Qaeda.
Many other countries raised their own terror alert status (for example: 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.
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.
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 was later revealed that the intermittent unavailability of both mobile and landline phone systems were due to excessive usage.
01 March 2006. BBC News 22:30 PM The Metropolitan Police admit that it was a mistake to shut down the mobile telephione networks in the immediate aftermath of the July 7th attacks. This directly contradicts statements by the mobile telephone network operators and the Police at the time.
"Metropolitan Police chief Sir Ian Blair has criticised his City of London colleagues for shutting down the mobile phone network on 7 July"
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 4pm 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.
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 indicate that claims will 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 were broadcast throughout 7 July, by both BBC 1 and ITV 1 uninterrupted until 7pm. Sky News did not carry any advertisements for 24 hours. 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.
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 (MTV studios being situated in Camden Town, close to some of the bomb sites).
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, media outlets recalled that the UK's leniency 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 policies into question (New York Times, Le Figaro). Such policies were qualified as a cynical attempt of quid pro quo: the UK allegedly exchanged an absence of attacks on its soil against toleration.
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 Islamist militants 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 has been targeted by bombers before. In February and March 1976, the Irish Republican Army (IRA) left several explosive devices in the tube network. On 4 March 1976, eight people were injured by a bomb in Cannon Street; 11 days later, nine people were injured by an explosion at West Ham tube station. Seconds after that incident, the driver of the train was shot dead when he attempted to pursue the fleeing bomber. Two more devices found at Oxford Circus and Wood Green stations were defused.
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 by the Irish Republican Army's Belfast Brigades whose leadership included Gerry Adams).
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 - known as an 'own goal' - that he intended to plant elsewhere, rather than a suicide attack.
The 2005 attacks were the first terrorist 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, Islamist terrorists had engaged in a train and subway bombings around Paris, France. While some of the suspects were arrested at the time, some, ironically, had sought refuge in the United Kingdom, from where their extradition, as of 2005, has been denied.
Attack on London
Response to the 2005 London bombings