the link to a timeline of the events of the london bombings, contains video as well
:50 a.m. – Three suicide bombings occur within 50 seconds of each other on three different trains traveling through London Underground stations. The locations targeted are:
– A train just outside the Liverpool Street station, killing seven people.
– A train just outside the Edgware Road station, killing six people.
– A train traveling between King’s Cross and Russell Square stations, killing 26 people.
9:15 a.m. – The system is shut down as British Transport Police confirm an explosion near London’s financial district in the area of Liverpool railway station.
9:27 a.m. – Metronet, the subway maintenance company, says a power surge has caused an explosion in the London tube station.
9:47 a.m. – The fourth suicide bomb explodes on a double-decker bus at Tavistock Place, killing 13 people.
9:53 a.m. – Metronet says the entire London subway network has been shut down. Incidents are reported at the Aldgate station near the Liverpool Street railway terminal, Edgware Road and Kings Cross in north London, Old Street in the financial district and Russell Square in central London.
10:25 a.m. – Police confirm an explosion on a bus in central London in the area around Russell Square.
11:07 a.m. – News agencies report all bus services have been suspended in London.
11:15 a.m. – European Union Commissioner for Justice and Security Affairs Franco Frattini tells reporters in Rome that the blasts in London are terrorist attacks.
12:00 p.m. – British Prime Minister Tony Blair declares in a public statement the “barbaric” London blasts are terrorist attacks and were designed to coincide with the G8 summit in Scotland.
12:35 p.m. – Scotland Yard revises the number of blasts down to four, three in the underground system and one on a bus. Originally, there were thought to be six separate attacks.
July 13, 2005 – Three of the four suicide bombers are identified as Shahzad Tanweer (Aldgate), Hasib Hussain (Tavistock Square), and Mohammed Sadique Khan (Edgeware Road).
July 14, 2005 – The fourth bomber is identified as Germain Morris Lindsay, responsible for the King’s Cross/Russell Square attack.
July 28, 2005 – CNN reports that more than a dozen unexploded bombs were found in a car at Luton station in north London five days after the attack.
September 1, 2005 – Al Jazeera airs a videotape of Mohammed Sidique Khan calling Osama bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi “today’s heroes.”
September 16, 2005 – Police search homes and businesses in northern England in connection with the bombings, but make no arrests.
May 11, 2006 – The British government releases two reports, concluding the bombers acted without the assistance of foreign terrorists.
March 22, 2007 – Three men are arrested in connection with the attack. Two are arrested at Manchester Airport, where they are preparing to catch a plane to Pakistan. The third man is arrested at a house in Leeds. The three men are arrested on suspicion of the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism under the Terrorism Act 2000.
April 5, 2007 – The men are charged with unlawfully and maliciously conspiring with the four suicide bombers and of conspiring to cause explosions at tourist attractions in London. They are identified by British police as Mohammed Shakil, Sadeer Saleem and Waheed Ali.
August 2, 2008 – A mistrial is declared after the jury fails to reach a verdict.
April 28, 2009 – At the re-trial, Ali, Shakil and Saleem are found not guilty in helping to plan the attack. Ali and Shakil are convicted of conspiracy in connection with pre-attack reconnaissance missions and receive seven-year sentences the next day.
May 6, 2011 – A British coroner report is released clearing the emergency services of failing to respond quickly enough to the bombings. Justice Heather Hallett rules that the severity of their injuries meant each of them would have died, no matter how quickly help reached them. In the wake of the suicide bombings there were claims that police and firefighters had been unwilling to get close to the scenes of the blasts because of safety fears.
April 30, 2012 – Internal al Qaeda documents surface providing details that British-subject and al Qaeda operative Rashid Rauf planned the 2005 London bombings carried out by groups led by Mohammed Siddique Khan on July 7 and Muktar Said Ibrahimon July 21.
video of the sky news report morning of the bombings
image of the four bombers
a more detailed report, talks about the aftermath of the event and what britain did
News article from the Guardian, a popular newspaper in England
On 6 July 2005, Eliza Manningham-Buller, the head of MI5, met a group of MPs from the Labour whips’ office to discuss the threat to the nation. There was, she assured them, no reason to believe that an attack was imminent. The following morning, Sir Ian Blair, then commissioner of the Metropolitan police, told the BBC that his force was “the envy of the policing world in relation to conterterrorism”.
Shortly after that statement the first of the bombs went off.
Two weeks later, just as the country was beginning to overcome the initial shock of four suicide bombings that caused the deaths of 52 people and injured more than 950, many seriously, came the attempted bombings of 21 July. For the public, the bombs that failed to explode triggered almost as much alarm as those that did, with the second attempt bringing home the realisation that they could be vulnerable to a series of onslaughts by al-Qaida-inspired jihadists. Within government and law-enforcement circles, the shock caused by the two incidents can only have been exacerbated by the institutional belief, widely held during the early summer of 2005, that the threat of a terrorist attack had subsided.
Two weeks later the then prime minister, Tony Blair, called a press conference at which he warned: “Let no one be in doubt. The rules of the game have changed.”
He outlined 12 new measures that aimed to transform the landscape of British counterterrorism. Together, they were intended to offer a greater degree of collective security; each came at considerable cost to the liberties of both individuals and groups of people.
It was a polarising moment. Sir Ian Blair could have been speaking for all those tasked with guaranteeing that collective security when he declared himself to be “very pleased” with the proposed measures. Even as he spoke, his officers were selecting suspects to be targeted. Gareth Peirce, the leading defence lawyer and a veteran campaigner against the excesses of the British state at times of crisis, condemned Tony Blair’s proposals as “a statement of dangerous self-delusion, deliberately ignoring history, legality, principle and justice”.
In the event, some of the proposed new powers, such as those that would allow the government to order the closure of places of worship, were quietly shelved. Others, such as the power to ban British Islamist organisations like al-Muhajiroun, had little impact, as groups simply reorganised under a new name. The plan to allow 90 days detention without charge was defeated when 49 Labour MPs rebelled against the government.
Some of the new measures, on the other hand, such as those criminalising the glorification or encouragement of terrorism, proved to be a useful tool for investigators and prosecutors. One of the most successful new measures – albeit one already under consideration before the bombings – was the prohibition of the preparation of terrorist acts, which allowed police to intervene, and possibly prevent, mass-casualty attacks before the details of any plot had become clear.
Most controversially, the Terrorism Act 2006, a direct consequence of the attacks, provided for terrorism suspects to be held without charge for 28 days, an increase of 14. That legislation was followed by measures that allowed the Bank of England to freeze the assets of terrorism suspects. The Counter-Terrorism Act 2008, passed after the government failed in its attempt to increase detention periods to 42 days, allowed police to continue questioning suspects after they had been charged, required convicted terrorist to notify the police of their whereabouts, extended the jurisdiction of courts to overseas terrorism offences, increased some sentences, and has been interpreted as banning photographs of the police in public places.
The number of arrests for terrorism offences duly increased after the summer of 2005. There were about 280 arrests for alleged terrorism offences in 2005/6, and although around 190 of those people were released without charge, the numbers of people charged and convicted also rose. After the bombings, dozens of terrorism charges were brought every year, usually against men in their 20s. Many of the charges were brought under counterterrorism laws that existed long before July 2005, including the 1883 Explosive Substances Act. Conviction rates on terrorism charges soared briefly after the bombings, according to Home Office figures, before settling down at around 60%.
The measures announced by the prime minister had not been intended to introduce a new counterterrorism strategy. That strategy, known as Contest, had been in existence since 2003. One of its key elements, the Prevent element, was intended to address the so-called root causes of terrorism, and there was a reluctance within government, in the aftermath of the bombings, to admit that the suicide bombers had been motivated by anger over the UK’s involvement in the invasion of Iraq, even once two of the bombers stated this in suicide videos released by al-Qaida.
But nor did Blair’s comments about the “rules of the game” refer only to the legislative framework governing counterterrorism. The whole atmosphere in which the police, MI5 and MI6 operated was about to change. Police stop-and-searches increased dramatically. There was talk of armed “marshals” being deployed on trains. One man, Jean Charles de Menezes, was mistakenly shot dead by officers who followed him on to a tube train at Stockwell station in London the day after the failed attacks of 21 July 2005 after he was confused with one of the suspects. Another man was shot and injured during a counterterrorism raid on his home in east London.
It is now becoming apparent that in the aftermath of 7 July there was also an increase in the number of British nationals being detained and tortured overseas. The victims included Tahir Shah, the film-making son of the Sufi writer Idries Shah, who was detained in Pakistan a week after the suicide bombings, hooded, forced into stress positions, then questioned about the attacks in what he describes as a “fully-equipped torture room”. At the same time, Alam Ghafoor was being tortured in Dubai, where he had been detained while on a business trip, apparently because he hailed from Yorkshire and resembled one of the bombers. Both men were told that they had been detained at the request of British authorities, who had been well aware how they would be treated. Neither men knew anything about the bomb plot, and both were released without charge.
After the allegations of British collusion in torture began to emerge, in 2008, there were fresh complaints from a number of young British Muslims, particularly Londoners of Somali origin, who said they had been approached by MI5 officers who threatened them with dire consequences whenever they travelled overseas unless they agreed to become informers.
While this was happening, police and MI5 officers were continuing the hunt for those individuals who had aided the July bombers. A small team of Scotland Yard detectives moved to Leeds. During the year that followed the attacks, police compiled 13,300 witness statements and viewed 6,000 hours of CCTV footage.
In March 2007 they made their first arrests, and two months later detained four more people. At that time, police indicated that they believed up to 30 people had been involved in the bombings. Peter Clarke, the head of the Yard’s counterterrorism command, said: “I firmly believe that there are other people who have knowledge of what lay behind the attacks in July 2005, knowledge that they have not shared with us. I don’t only believe it, I know it for a fact.”
One of those arrested admitted possessing an al-Qaida training manual, and two others were jailed after being convicted of attending terrorism training camps, but nobody has ever been convicted of conspiring to cause the 7 July explosions.
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