Terrorists attack London transit system at rush hour

Terrorists attack London transit system at rush hour

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On the morning of July 7, 2005, bombs are detonated in three crowded London subways and one bus during the peak of the city’s rush hour. The synchronized suicide bombings, which were thought to be the work of al-Qaida, killed 56 people including the bombers and injured another 700. It was the largest attack on Great Britain since World War II. No warning was given.

The train bombings targeted the London Underground, the city’s subway system. Nearly simultaneous explosions, at about 8:50 a.m., occurred on trains in three locations: between the Aldgate and Liverpool Street stations on the Circle Line; between the Russell Square and King’s Cross stations on the Piccadilly Line; and at the Edgware Road station, also on the Circle Line. Almost an hour later, a double-decker bus on Upper Woburn Place near Tavistock Square was also hit; the bus’s roof was ripped off by the blast.

The attacks took place as world leaders, including British Prime Minister Tony Blair, were meeting at the G8 summit in nearby Scotland. In his remarks after learning of the blasts, Blair called the attacks barbaric and pointed out that their taking place at the same time as the G8 summit was most likely purposeful. Later, he vowed to see those responsible brought to justice and that Great Britain, a major partner with the U.S. in the war in Iraq, would not be intimidated by terrorists.

Of the four suicide bombers, three were born in Great Britain and one in Jamaica. Three lived in or near Leeds in West Yorkshire; one resided in Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire. Al-Qaida officially claimed responsibility for the attacks on September 1, 2005, in a videotape released to the al-Jazeera television network.

Two weeks later, on July 21, 2005, a second set of four bombings was attempted, also targeting the city’s transit system, but failed when the explosives only partially detonated. The four men alleged to be responsible for the failed attacks were arrested in late July.

An estimated 3 million people ride the London Underground every day, with another 6.5 million using the city’s bus system.

London Subway Bombing Quotes

Claim: E-mail lists reactions to the London subway bombings purportedly collected from Londoners.

Status: Multiple — see below.

Example: [Collected on the Internet, 2005]

To quote an old Londoner who lived through the blitz and got caught up in the Canary Wharf explosion: “I’ve been blown up by a better class of bastard than this!”

We took on the Romans, the Saxons, the Danes, the French, William Wallace, the Black Plague, the Roundheads, the Great Fire, Napoleon, the Nazis, and the Blitz, and we’re still here. You terrorists are bloody amateurs.

From the BBC website: statement from Al Qaeda:

“Britain is now burning with fear, terror and panic in its northern, southern, eastern, and western quarters”.

Erm really… where? I think you will find that’s a reaction to the winning the Olympics bid or perhaps just the effect Bush has on us when he visits?!

I will admit, the first thought that flashed through my head were images of angry French nationalists in very silly berets and overlong cigarette holders, muttering angrily about losing the Olympics, sneaking through the tube planting bombs…

Origins: On the morning of 7 July 2005, as the morning’s rush hour drew to a close, London’s transit system came under terrorist attack. Suicide bombers detonated explosives on three Underground trains

and a bus, killing and injuring more than 700 others.

Britain has served to amaze the watching world by its reaction to this assault — it has calmly gone about the difficult business of burying its dead, treating its injured, rebuilding its transit system, and returning to a state of normalcy. As was said by The Times on 2005, “Terrorism will not defeat a way of life.”

The Times also said, “Britain is at its best when it demonstrates, in its daily routine and lives, the values of humor, moderation, reasonableness and imperturbability.” These characteristics are showcased in the Internet-circulated list of quotes purportedly gathered from Londoners in the wake of the

However, while the traits so adroitly demonstrated by this pithy collection of sayings are real, some of the quotes themselves may not be. The first four appear on “Steve’s Random and Often Beligerent Journal,” a growing compendium of remarks about the bombings in London compiled by Stephen Ball, who in the online world goes by the moniker Uncle Steve. He began this collection on the day of the attacks, gathering these utterances first from friends’ posts on LiveJournal, then later from the replies others were moved to add to the first published version of the list.

As to who wrote each of the five remarks, here is what we have been able to determine:

The brilliant “Tea solves everything” quote issued from a blogger known as jslayeruk who posted it to the Metaquotes LiveJournal under the heading “Coordinated terrorist attack on the transport network….? TEA DAMMIT!” jslayeruk gives her location as Newcastle upon Tyne in the United Kingdom, which places her in England’s northeast, well away from London, but says in that she lives in London.

The above is a mutation of a post made by quintus to the LiveJournal kept by s0b: “I recall a quote from an old Londoner who lived through the blitz and got caught up in the Canary wharf explosion: ‘I’ve been blown up by a better class of [email protected] than this!'”

quintus (who gives his location as in “Britain, rather rural and extremely scenic”) further explains its origins in his own LiveJournal:

“I’ve been bombed by a better class of [email protected] than this!”

quintus does not now remember where he picked up that bon mot, only that it was common currency among his circle of friends at the time of the 1996 failed IRA attempt to bomb Canary Wharf and the bombing a month later in South Quay. He thinks there may have been an interview with a survivor of the attack, with the quote coming from there.

(A special thank you to John Kovalic, a former reporter for the Wisconsin State Journal who now runs the web site dorktower.com, for helping us unravel the origins of the ‘better class of bastard’ quote.)

Sadly, this comment has yet to yield up its authorial secrets to us.

Erm really… where? I think you will find that’s a reaction to the winning the Olympics bid or perhaps just the effect Bush has on us when he visits?!

The “Britain is now burning with fear, terror and panic in its northern, southern, eastern, and western quarters” portion of the above entry comes from the statement issued by the Secret Organisation Group of of Jihad Organisation in Europe, the terrorist group claiming responsibility for the blasts. The second half of the entry was penned by a blogger who goes by the name of sugarjunkie02 and posted to her LiveJournal on 2005. sugarjunkie02 gives her location as London.

The above was an utterance of Chris Pipinou, a user identified as cpip on the Metaquotes LiveJournal, who lives in Louisville, KY. He posted it to the Metaquotes LiveJournal on 2005.

Cities vulnerable, cities resilient

The tighter security that has been in place in London since September 11th may have contributed to that. No city, however, can stop terrorists altogether. What can be said, though, is that terrorists are unable to stop cities, either. Perhaps an army, launching wave after wave of attacks, might succeed in doing so, especially if it were to deploy biological, chemical or nuclear weapons. Short of that, cities will always bounce back quickly, after the initial shock. They are resilient organisms, with powerful social and economic reasons to shrug off terrorism. New York and Madrid both show that, triumphantly.

The same will certainly be true of London. Like all large modern cities it is vulnerable to disruption. Millions of people pour into or through the city every day, through its huge transport network, making it easy to identify places to plant bombs and propagate fear. But that also makes the city adaptable. And there is no doubt that the experience of being attacked is likely to make Londoners more determined to resume their normal lives, not less. That would be true even if London had not previously endured decades of attacks from Irish terrorists, but that history makes resilience an even safer bet.

Might the attacks affect Tony Blair's ability to keep British troops in Iraq—presumably the terrorists' goal, if they are indeed related to al-Qaeda? Again, the answer is that the attacks will either prove irrelevant to that policy or, in fact, strengthen both his resolve and his popular support. They may be irrelevant because there is anyway little political or popular pressure for withdrawal of the 8,500 troops that are still in Iraq, even though a majority now believes that the war was a bad idea in the first place. Casualties have been light ever since the end of the formal hostilities, the British are in a relatively calm area of the country, and the public seems to think they are doing a necessary job.

Far likelier, the attacks will reinforce the case for pressing on with the long-term task, as defined by Mr Blair: the establishment of a stable democracy in Iraq, peace between Israel and Palestine, and democratic reform elsewhere in the Middle East. If that sounds rather close to Mr Bush's policy, that's because it is. No terrorists can change that.

This article appeared in the Leaders section of the print edition under the headline "London under attack"

After Coordinated Bombs, London Is Stunned, Bloodied and Stoic

LONDON, July 7 - Bomb explosions tore through three London subway trains and a red double-decker bus in a deadly terror attack today, killing at least 37 people in coordinated rush hour carnage that left the city stunned, bloodied but stoic.

Only one day after the British capital erupted in joy at winning the 2012 Olympic competition over such cities as Paris and New York, commuters packed in the city's subways - the Tube - were plunged into the city's perennial nightmare of a subterranean bloodbath. The city center was paralyzed. Police in yellow slickers sealed off streets. Bus services halted and the entire subway network closed down as rescue workers and paramedics went deep below ground to look for the dead and wounded.

Above ground, an explosion tore open the roof of a No. 30 double-decker bus with such force that it threw debris 10 feet into the air. The blast was so powerful that, hours later, the police could not estimate the number of dead. Neither, said Deputy Assistant Commissioner Brian Paddick, was it clear whether the explosions were suicide bombings.

The attack - deadlier than the 1998 Omagh bombing in Northern Ireland that claimed 29 lives - coincided with the first full day of deliberations among the leaders of the world's most industrialized countries far to the north at the Gleneagles golf estate in Scotland. The tactics in the bombings - a coordinated strike against rush-hour transport systems - bore a close resemblance to the attack last year in Madrid that claimed 191 lives.

A group describing itself as affiliated with Al Qaeda took responsibility for the attack on an Arabic-language Web site but British police said they were unable to confirm the authenticity of the claim. The group called itself the Secret Al Qaeda Jihad Organization in Europe and said the attacks were to avenge British involvement in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Prime Minister Tony Blair, who had been playing host to the summit and seemed high on a wave of successes capped by the Olympic decision, cut short his stay in Scotland, leaving the seven other Group of 8 leaders - including President Bush - as he flew back to head emergency ministerial meetings here.

"It is reasonably clear that there have been a series of terrorist attacks in London," a shaken Mr. Blair told reporters before he left Gleneagles, speaking after several hours in which the authorities had spoken only of a power-surge on the subway lines and shied from blaming the attacks on terrorism.

"Just as it is reasonably clear that this is a terrorist attack or a series of terrorist attacks, it is clear that it is designed and aimed to coincide with the opening of the G-8," he said. He added that it was "particularly barbaric" that the attacks coincided with a gathering designed to combat African poverty and global warming.

"The terrorists will not succeed," he said. "Today's bombings will not weaken in any way our resolve to uphold the most deeply held principles of our societies and to defeat those who would impose their fanaticism and extremism on all of us. We shall prevail and they shall not."

In a recorded message later from his office at 10 Downing Street to the nation broadcast after he returned to London, a somber Mr. Blair declared: "This is a very sad day for the British people. But we will hold true to the British way of life.

"The purpose of terrorism is just that - to terrorize people and we will not be terrorized."

He promised "the most intense police and security service action to make sure that we bring those responsible to justice." He praised "the stoicism and resilience of the people of London."

British officials have been forecasting a major terror strike on London since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, in New York and Washington. Since Britain sided with the United States in the war in Iraq, this land has seen itself as a potential target.

Immediately after the attacks, authorities in the United States and Europe increased security precautions on mass transit systems. In Gleneagles, President Bush drew the comparison between the aims of the G-8 summit and the bombers.

"On the one hand you have people working to alleviate poverty and rid the world of the pandemic of AIDS and ways to have a clean environment and, on the other hand, you have people working to kill people," he said.

"The contrast couldn't be clearer between the intentions and the hearts of those who care deeply about human rights and human liberty, and those who kill, those who've got such evil in their hearts that they will take the lives of innocent folks," Mr. Bush said. "The war on terror goes on."

In Singapore, Giselle Davies, a spokeswoman for the International Olympic Committee said in an interview that London 2012 officials had told the I.O.C. that authorities were not making any link between the bombings and the awarding of the 2012 Games to London. She also said that the I.O.C. president, Dr. Jacques Rogge, had spoken to Mr. Blair.

"From what we understand and everything that we know about it, this is not at all a bit related," Ms. Davies said. "There is no link and it is not for us to speculate further."

She added that the I.O.C. "has the full confidence in London and a secure Games in seven years time."

The bombings began on what seemed a normal, busy day in the rush-hour.

According to a police chronology, the first came at Liverpool Street Station at 8:51 a.m. (3:51 Eastern time) when an explosion tore through a subway train 100 yards into the tunnel. Seven people died.

The second was at 8:56 a.m. at King's Cross station, a hub that, like Liverpool Street, links the subway to overland trains bound for the north-east. The death toll was 21 people, the police said.

Twenty-one minutes later, at 9:17 a.m., a third blast ripped through a train coming into the Edgware Road underground station, again 100 yards away from the platform inside the tunnel. Five died there.

And 30 minutes later, at 9:47 a.m., the upper deck of a bus was bombed at the junction of Upper Woburn Place and Tavistock Square. "We estimate many casualties," the police said.

Tony Tindall, an Australian steel erector who has lived and worked in London for five years, heard the explosion on the bus and said: "The scene was just carnage. There was blood and guts everywhere."

In a remarkable escape, Jasmine Gardner, 22 from Kent who works in television distribution, was about to board the No. 30 bus in Tavistock Square, having been forced off the subway by the earlier explosions.

"I was trying to get on the bus," she said. "It was moving slowly though heavy traffic. The bus had stopped and let off most of its passengers. There were 15 to 20 people on board the number 30 bus.

"One minute the bus was there, the next minute it seemed to dissolve into millions of pieces. I was showered with bits of metal and bits of the bus. I was shielding myself with my umbrella and it all landed on my umbrella. I completely broke down. I was stuck to the spot. I turned away because I couldn't face to look at it. Someone had to tell me to run away as fast as I could. It was horrific."

In total, the police said, more than 300 people were wounded, ferried to hospitals swathed in silvery space blankets, their faces blackened with soot. The police said seriously injured people had lost limbs and were badly burned.

Since the Sept. 11 attacks police have been rehearsing emergency procedures and seemed to be following pre-arranged measures, urging people to stay where they were, tune into the television, radio or Web site and avoid central London.

By evening some parts of the city were eerily calm, the usually thronged streets around some railroad stations cordoned off and empty, while thousands of people packed the sidewalks, seeking ways home.

Some Londoners took the bombings in stride, citing their long experience of attacks by the Irish Republican Army - but with the key distinction that the I.R.A. had often issued warnings of when it would strike, and has observed a form of truce for more than eight years.

"We've seen all this before in a way," said Sgt. John Burnett, a police officer patrolling under the tall chestnut trees near the site of the bus attack. "We've been fighting the I.R.A. for years in London. So bombs are nothing new. But the difference is that I.R.A. provided some warning for their attacks. It seems the hallmark of these attacks is we get no warning, whatsoever. It was a matter of when, not if."

London's subway system, the world's oldest, transports three million people each day. Officials estimated that about 500 trains were in use at the time of the explosions, with some trains carrying as many as 900 people.

The blast spread chaos with police cars, ambulances and fire engines speeding across the city.

Tourists lined the gates of Hyde Park, queuing to ask police officers how to reach the airport or other popular sites. Ten-minute tube rides became 45-minute walks. A woman eight months pregnant was told her trip home would take two hours.

Around 11 a.m. along Edgware Road, pedestrians lined the police barriers, each seeking directions on how to get around the cordoned off areas.

Yusuf Pandor, 40, of North West London, was looking to return to his car on the other side of the barriers. A little more than an hour earlier, Mr. Pandor was one of many Samaritans helping pull bombing victims into the nearby Hilton Metropol.

"They were shaken, bleeding," Mr. Pandor said. "One woman was badly injured burned on her face. She had it covered. People were just shocked."

Loyita Worley, who works for a city law firm, told the BBC that she was in the subway when an explosion took place in the next carriage, while it was in a tunnel.

Ms. Worley, 49, said: "All the lights went out and the train came to an immediate halt. There was smoke everywhere and everyone was coughing and choking, but remained calm. We couldn't open the doors."

In his broadcast, Mr. Blair sought to prevent any backlash against British or foreign Muslims, noting that while terrorists said they had acted in the name of Islam, most Muslims in Britain and around the world were "decent law-abiding people who deplore these acts of terrorism as much as we do."

The blast spread worries across Europe, particularly in those lands that are seen as allies of the United States - Spain until last year, Italy and others.

"This should be a wake up call for us all, since England has the best anti-terrorism tradition in Europe," said Frencesco Sidoti, an expert in security at the University of Lɺquila.

"We are unprepared, This has nothing to do with the old-style domestic terrorism that Europe is used to," he said referring to scattered acts of violence committed by groups like the Red Brigades in Italy, or the Irish Republican Army in Britain.

Italy's prime minister and president expressed their outrage at the attacks, as did Pope Benedict XVI, who called the bombings "barbaric acts against humanity."

Sarah Lyall, Don Van Natta Jr., Stephen Gray and Wendy Ginsberg contributed reporting from London for this article, and Richard W. Stevenson from Auchterarder, Scotland, and Elisabeth Rosenthal from Rome.

Deadly v. Disruptive: Public Transit Attacks by Time of Day

To assist security planning, new Mineta Transportation Institute (MTI) research identifies what time of day most attacks on public ground transportation in different parts of the world occur and when they are most lethal. In their research, Frequency and Lethality of Attacks on Surface Transportation Systems of Developed Countries, by Time of Day, MTI Research Associates Brian Michael Jenkins and Bruce R. Butterworth analyzed 500+ attacks on passenger rail and bus systems in modern developed countries between 1970 and 2020. They identified two categories of peak hours—average workday rush hours (6AM-10AM and 5PM-8PM) and holidays with high traffic and tourist travel—to determine how time of day of attacks affects lethality.

They found that approximately 63% of the attacks occurred in off-peak hours, as opposed to only 19% occurring during peak hours. However, the peak-hour attacks were 4.5 times more lethal. The timing of the remaining 19% of attacks is unknown (numbers may not sum up to 100 due to rounding).

To inflict maximum lethal damage, terrorists time their attacks to occur during weekday rush hours and peak travel times associated with holiday and vacation travel. For example, the 1980 bombing of the Bologna train station, which occurred on a Saturday holiday, killed 85 people—making it one of the deadliest attacks in decades. This event, along with four other high-lethality outliers—including the 2003 subway attack in South Korea (198 dead), the 2004 train bombing in Madrid (193 dead), the 2005 London Transport bombing (52 dead), and the 1995 Tokyo Sarin attack (12 dead and 5,000 injured)—account for 70% of the total fatalities in public surface transportation attacks and 79% of the total injuries.

“It seems logical that terrorists seeking to cause maximum disruption or mass casualties would launch their attacks during times of day when passenger traffic is at its height. However, some attackers—left-wing groups and Basque separatists, for example—have avoided large-scale casualties and have generally carried out their attacks during off-peak hours, often at night to avoid detection,” states co-author Brian Michael Jenkins.

Their research also found that:

The pattern of attacks on train targets is quite different from that of attacks on bus targets, with far more bus attacks occurring during non-peak hours.

The United Kingdom has the highest frequency of attacks (19% of the total), followed by Spain (16%), and then the United States (11%).

According to Butterworth, “Most U.S. attacks are carried out by mentally unstable individuals with no discernible pattern. There is a need for far more proactive alerts and treatments for these individuals rather than punishment.”

Not surprisingly, given the ability to acquire automatic and semi-automatic weapons in the U.S., 14 of the attacks were armed assaults, explosives were used in 11 attacks, and 8 involved stabbings, representing more than 60% of all U.S. attacks.

“While not a wave of terrorism, U.S. anti-social violence is a disturbing trend that authorities must contend with while keeping an eye on terrorists,” said Jenkins.

The forensic detail provided by this research, along with the quantification and analysis of the data associated with attacks on public transport during rush hours, can help anyone involved improve safety and security planning and potentially save lives. Ultimately, these findings can help establish timelines and attack patterns, which can be used for security and planning and aid those responsible for running and overseeing transit operations to prioritize visible and remote security presence and quick response to attacks on transit systems.

Figure 1: Weekday Fatalities, by time Block, with the four outlier attacks included

Figure 2: Lethality (deaths per attack) during weekday time blocks

At the Mineta Transportation Institute (MTI) at San Jose State University (SJSU) our mission is to increase mobility for all by improving the safety, efficiency, accessibility, and convenience of our nations’ transportation system. Through research, education, workforce development and technology transfer, we help create a connected world. Founded in 1991, MTI is funded through the US Departments of Transportation and Homeland Security, the California Department of Transportation, and public and private grants, including those made available by the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017 (SB1). MTI is affiliated with SJSU’s Lucas College and Graduate School of Business.

Brian Michael Jenkins
is the Director of the Mineta Transportation Institute’s Allied Telesis National Transportation Security Center and since 1997 has directed the Institute’s continuing research on protecting surface transportation against terrorism and other serious forms of crime.

Bruce R. Butterworth is a Senior Transportation Security Researcher at MTI and former Director of Aviation Security Operations at the Federal Aviation Administration. Bruce has taken a leading role in creating MTI’s unique database of attacks on public surface transportation.

MTI researchers find most transit system attacks occur during off-peak hours

While 60 percent of passenger attacks within transit systems occur during off peak hours, the peak hour attacks are more lethal.

A new report from the Mineta Transportation Institute (MTI) has found attacks on transit passengers are more likely to occur during off-peak hours. However, those that occur during peak hours are more lethal.

The report, Frequency and Lethality of Attacks on Surface Transportation Systems of Developed Countries, by Time of Day, analyzed 504 attacks on passenger rail and bus systems in developed countries between 1970 and 2020. The report’s authors, MTI Research Associates Brian Michael Jenkins and Bruce R. Butterworth, identified two categories of peak hours—average workday rush hours (6 a.m. – 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. – 8 p.m.) and holidays with high traffic and tourist travel—to determine how time of day of attacks affects lethality.

Jenkins and Butterworth found 63 percent of attacks occurred during off-peak hours, 19 percent occurred during peak hours and the timing of the remaining 19 percent is unknown. The researchers note by isolating the 168 weekday attacks for which specific time is known, proportions shift to where 45 percent of attacks occur during peak periods and 55 percent occur during off-peak periods.

Figure 1: Weekday Fatalities, by time Block, with the four outlier attacks included Mineta Transportation Institute The report also says peak hour attacks are 4.5 times more lethal. Jenkins and Butterworth recognize large scale incidents, such as the 1995 Tokyo Sarin attack, the 2003 arson on a subway in Daegu, South Korea, the 2004 bombing of a commuter train in Madrid, Spain, and the 2005 London transport bombings, had the potential to skew the numbers. The initial analysis did not include these four events, but when added in the lethality. increases to more than five times that of off-peak attacks.

“The morning rush hour may be the most lethal time of attacks on surface transportation because it offers a large number of potential victims, important particularly when bombs are used,” Jenkins and Butterworth wrote in a report summary. “Moreover, attackers may be able to avoid detection in morning crowds, and the night and early morning hours offer a long period when last-minute operations can be readied under minimal surveillance.”

Figure 2: Lethality (deaths per attack) during weekday time blocks Mineta Transportation Institute Jenkins and Butterworth also note two points that the research shows first, the pattern of attacks on train targets is quite different from that of attacks on bus targets, with far more bus attacks occurring during non-peak hours. Second, the United Kingdom has the highest frequency of attacks (19 percent of the total), followed by Spain (16 percent) and then the United States (11 percent).

“Most U.S. attacks are carried out by mentally unstable individuals with no discernible pattern. There is a need for far more proactive alerts and treatments for these individuals rather than punishment,” said Butterworth.

The researchers also note 14 of the attacks in the U.S. were armed assaults explosives were used in 11 attacks and eight involved stabbings, representing more than 60 percent of all U.S. attacks.

“While not a wave of terrorism, U.S. anti-social violence is a disturbing trend that authorities must contend with while keeping an eye on terrorists,” said Jenkins.

Jenkins and Butterworth believe the forensic detail provided by their research, along with the quantification and analysis of the data associated with attacks on public transport during rush hours, can help anyone involved improve safety and security planning and potentially save lives.

“Ultimately, these findings can help establish timelines and attack patterns, which can be used for security and planning and aid those responsible for running and overseeing transit operations to prioritize visible and remote security presence and quick response to attacks on transit systems,” MTI concluded.

Pressure cooker bombs were placed on trains on the Western Line of the suburban ("local") train network, which forms the backbone of the city's transport network. Pressure cookers were used in this bombing and other recent explosions [1] [2] [3] to increase the afterburn in a thermobaric reaction, more powerful than conventional high explosives. [4] The first blast reportedly took place at 18:24 IST (12:54 UTC), and the explosions continued for approximately eleven minutes, until 18:35, [5] during the after-work rush hour. All the bombs had been placed in the first-class "general" compartments of several trains running from Churchgate, the city-centre end of the western railway line, to the western suburbs of the city. They exploded at or in the near vicinity of the suburban railway stations of Matunga Road, Mahim Junction, Bandra, Khar Road, Jogeshwari, Bhayandar and Borivali. [6] [7] Home Minister Shivraj Patil told reporters that authorities had "some" information an attack was coming, "but place and time was not known". [8]

The bomb attacks in Mumbai came hours after a series of grenade attacks in Srinagar, the largest city in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. Home Secretary V K Duggal said there was no link between the Srinagar and Mumbai bomb blasts. [9]

2006 Mumbai train bombings
Confirmed casualties
Train Blast location Carriage type Time (IST) Deaths Injured Sources
Travelling north
from Churchgate
Khar Road – Santacruz First Class 18:24 9
17:50 Fast Local
Bandra – Khar Road First Class 18:24 22
17:37 Slow Local
Jogeshwari (PF #1) First Class 18:25 28
17:54 Fast Local
Mahim Junction (PF #3) First Class 18:26 43
Travelling north
from Churchgate
Mira Road – Bhayandar First Class 18:29 31
17:57 Fast Local
Matunga Road – Mahim Junction First Class 18:30 28
17:37 Fast Local
Borivali 1 First Class 18:35 26
Total 11 minutes 209 714 [10]
1 One bomb exploded at this location, but another one was found by police and defused. [5]

Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister R. R. Patil confirmed that a total of 200 people were killed and another 714 others have been injured. [11] Additionally, various news organisations have reported that at least 200 people have died and that more than 700 others have been injured. [12] [13] [14] [15] A week after the blasts in Mumbai the confirmed death toll rose to 207. [16] In September 2006 it was confirmed that the death toll had risen to 209. [17]

A state of high alert was declared in India's major cities. Both the airports in Mumbai were placed on high alert. The western line of the Mumbai Suburban Railway network was at first shut down, although some trains resumed service later, and stringent security arrangements, including frisking and searching of commuters, were instituted on the other lines of the network. The city's bus service, the BEST, pressed extra buses into service to transport stranded commuters home. [18]

The Prime Minister also held a security meeting at his residence attended by Home Minister Shivraj Patil, National Security Advisor M K Narayanan, and Home Secretary V K Duggal. [19]

Resumption of services and return to normality Edit

Western Railway services were restored on 11 July by 10.45 pm. [20] As a show of investor confidence, the Bombay Stock Exchange rebounded, starting the day with the BSE Sensex Index up by nearly 1% in morning trade. Foreign investors also retained confidence, with the Sensex up almost 3% at 10,930.09 at the end of the day's trade.

Rescue and relief operations Edit

  • Initial rescue efforts were hampered by the heavy rains and the prevalent monsoon flooding, but quickly took momentum after fellow passengers and bystanders helped victims to reach waiting ambulances and/or provided first aid. Chief MinisterVilasrao Deshmukh announced ex-gratia payments of Rs 1,00,000 (approximately US$2,200) to the next of kin of those who died in the explosion. The injured would be given Rs 50,000 (approximately US$1,100) each. [9] announced Rs 5,00,000 (approximately US$10,000) compensation and a job to the next of kin of those killed in the serial blasts in Mumbai. The announcements were made by Railways MinisterLalu Prasad Yadav after visiting those injured in the blasts at a hospital in Mumbai. [21]

However a study commissioned by former MP Kirit Somaiya noted that only 174 of the 1,077 victims had received compensation through the Railway Claims Tribunal. For the handicapped victims, only 15 out of 235 eligible cases had been taken care of. Regarding the Prime Minister's promise to India concerning the rehabilitation of the victims, L. K. Advani noted that "none of the above mentioned assurances has been fulfilled to any degree of satisfaction" [22]

Sources of information Edit

Due to the mobile phone networks being jammed, news channels ran tickertapes with information of injured individuals as well as SMS messages from those who wished to contact their families. [23] Reports indicated that at around 18:00 UTC on 11 July (midnight in Mumbai), the phone networks were restoring service telephone service was completely restored during the night.

Mumbai Help, a blog run by around thirty bloggers, was a useful source of information, especially for those outside India. [ citation needed ]

Some 350 people were detained 36 hours after the incident in Maharashtra — police claim that these are people rounded up for investigations. [24] On 14 July, Lashkar-e-Qahhar, a terrorist organisation possibly linked to Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), claimed responsibility for the bombings. In an e-mail to an Indian TV channel, the outfit says it organised the bombings using 16 people who are all "safe". According to the e-mail, the main motive seems to have been a retaliation to the situation in the Gujarat and Kashmir regions, possibly referring to the alleged oppression of Muslim minorities in certain parts of the region. It also says that the blasts were part of a series of attacks aimed at other sites such as the Mumbai international airport, Gateway of India, the Taj Mahal in Agra and the Red Fort in New Delhi. The authorities are investigating this claim and are trying to track the location of the e-mail sender. [25] However, on 17 July, the forensic science laboratory Mumbai has confirmed the use of a mixture of the highly explosive RDX and Ammonium Nitrate for the bombings. The presence of these explosives in the post explosive debris was confirmed by modern techniques such as Liquid Chromatography with mass detector (LCMS), Gas Chromatography with mass detector (GCMS) and Ion Scan Chromatography. They have indicated a strong possibility of all explosives being planted at the Churchgate railway station, which was the starting point for all affected trains. [26]

Initially, religious extremists from the Lashkar-e-Taiba and the banned Students Islamic Movement of India terrorist groups, and Pakistan's intelligence agency ISI were the prime suspects. [27] [28] Both Lashkar and SIMI denied responsibility for the bombings. [29] [30] There was also evidence about the involvement of the international Islamic terrorist group Al-Qaeda following a phone call from a man claiming to be a spokesperson for the group on 13 July. The alleged al-Qaeda spokesman had said the blasts were a "consequence of Indian oppression and suppression of minorities, particularly Muslims." [31]

On 30 September 2006, CNN reported that "The Indian government accused Pakistan's military spy agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence, of planning 11 July Mumbai train bombings that killed 209 people". [17]

The New York City Police Department was intensely concerned about the attacks, citing their simplicity and lethality. To address these worries, the department deployed Brandon del Pozo, a Jordanian-based intelligence officer, to Mumbai to collect information on the attacks and report on ways they reflected similar vulnerabilities in the New York City's extensive commuter rail system. [32]

Arrests Edit

On 21 July 2006, police arrested three people suspected to be involved in the bombings. [33] Police have detained more than 300 suspects since 18 July but these are the first arrests in the case. [34] Two of the men were detained on Thursday in the northern state of Bihar and the third later in Mumbai. [35] [36] All three are said to belong to the banned SIMI organisation.

On the same day, Abdul Karim Tunda was thought to be arrested in Mombasa, Kenya on suspicions of involvement in the train bombings. [37] but it was the wrong person. He was one of India's most wanted men and also a suspected organiser for the banned terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba. [38] He was arrested in 2013 near the Nepal border.

In late 2006, all the seven key accused in the Mumbai train blasts in July retracted their alleged confession to the police, saying they were illegally forced to sign blank papers, an Indian TV channel reported. [39]

Continuing investigation Edit

M K Narayanan, the Indian National Security Advisor, has said that India doesn't have "clinching" evidence of the involvement of ISI in the Mumbai train blasts of 11 July. [ citation needed ]

"I would hesitate to say we have clinching evidence but we have pretty good evidence," he was quoted as saying on CNN-IBN.

Following Narayanan's remarks, the Union Home Secretary V.K. Duggal on Monday characterised the evidence as "very good [. ] it is fairly solid evidence,". 5 On 25 September 2008, Hindustan Times reported that "the Crime branch also learnt that the men [behind 2008 Delhi bombings] are those very operatives who had introduced themselves as Pakistanis to perpetrators of 11 July 2006 Mumbai train bombings. [40]

Jemaah Islamiyah is known to use pressure cooker bombs with RDX and like explosives with taggants. Note that Jemaah Islamiyah had operatives in the Pakistan areas active in religious indoctrination and that were working with Egyptian Islamic Jihad through al-Zawahiri who taught on the use of pressure cooker bombs. As such it is quite possible that Jemaah Islamiyah was involved in the attack possibly through Indian Mujahideen which it also forms part of. [ citation needed ]

Involvement of Indian Mujahideen Edit

On 27 February 2009, Sadiq Sheikh, an arrested leader of the Indian Mujahideen confessed to his alleged role in the bombings in a news channel broadcast. [41] He claimed to have engineered the pressure cooker bombs with his associates in a flat in central Mumbai. If verified, these allegations could invalidate the previous claims by the ATS that the ISI or the SIMI were involved. Sadiq states in his confession, ‘'All five of us arranged local first class train passes beforehand. We also had the local train time table with us so that we could choose a train as per our convenience. We purchased bags and pressure cookers in Bombay.'’ He also claimed to have misled investigators by blaming the attacks on the Al-Qaeda. On 6 April 2013, IM co-founder Sadiq Sheikh declared hostile witness by defence advocates. [42]

Convictions Edit

In September 2015, 12 people were convicted in this case. [43] On 30 September 2015, a special Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) court sentenced to death Faisal Sheikh, Asif Khan, Kamal Ansari, Ehtesham Sidduqui and Naveed Khan who planted the bombs in various trains. [44] [45]

The other seven convicts—Mohammed Sajid Ansari, who prepared the electrical circuits for the bombs, Mohammed Ali, who provided his Govandi residence to make the bombs, Dr Tanveer Ansari, one of the conspirators, and Majid Shafi, Muzzammil Shaikh, Sohail Shaikh and Zamir Shaikh who provided logistical support – were sentenced to life. [46]

Heightened security measures Edit

In wake of the blasts, the Indian government tightened security in railway stations. Under new restrictions passed by the Ministry of Railways, non-passengers would no longer be allowed on the railway platforms after July 2006. Other major security steps include installation of close circuit televisions inside the stations for round-the-clock vigil and installation of metal detectors. [47]

Statements in response Edit

Various senior political figures from India and around the world condemned the attacks. In India, Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh was quick to call for calm in Mumbai, while President Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, Railways Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav, and president of the Indian National Congress Sonia Gandhi also issued statements regarding the bombings in Mumbai. Officials from other nations offered their condolences to those affected by the bombings. Officials, from Pakistan which has long feuded with India, and the United Kingdom, which was the target of similar attacks the previous July, were among those who denounced the attacks in Mumbai as well as terrorism as a whole.

Memorial service Edit

A memorial service was held in Mumbai on 18 July at 6:25 pm local time [48] — exactly one week after the blasts. President Abdul Kalam, his hand raised to his forehead in salute, led the two-minute silence as people lit candles and placed wreaths at Mahim station, one of the seven places on the suburban rail network hit by bombs. Sirens sounded across Mumbai marking the memorial service. [49] People gathered at the site of the blasts, in railway stations on the city's Western Line, traffic came to a halt, It interrupted films and observed a moment of silence to pay homage to the victims. [ citation needed ]


19th century

  • 1867, 13 December: Clerkenwell explosion: members of the Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB), nicknamed the "Fenians", detonated a bomb against the outer wall of Clerkenwell Prison, in an attempt to free one of their comrades. The explosion damaged nearby houses, killed 12 people and caused 120 injuries.
  • 1881–1885: Fenian dynamite campaign: the IRB carried out a bombing campaign against infrastructure, government, military and police targets in Britain.
  • 26 April 1897: A bomb left by an anarchist group on a Metropolitan Railway train exploded at Aldersgate Street station (now Barbican). One person, Harry Pitts, was killed and sixty were injured, ten seriously. [5][6]


From January 1939 to March 1940, the Irish Republican Army (IRA) carried out a campaign of bombing and sabotage against the civil, economic, and military infrastructure of Britain. It was known as the S-Plan or Sabotage Campaign. During the campaign, the IRA carried out almost 300 attacks and acts of sabotage in Britain, killing seven people and injuring 96. [7] Most of the casualties occurred in the Coventry bombing on 25 August 1939.


  • 1971, 12 January: Two bombs exploded at the house of government minister Robert Carr. This attack was one of 25 carried out by the Angry Brigade between August 1970 and August 1971. The Bomb Squad was established at Scotland Yard in January 1971 to target the group, and they were apprehended in August of that year. [8][9]
  • 1971, 31 October: A bomb exploded in the Post Office Tower in London causing extensive damage but no injuries. The "Kilburn Battalion" of the IRA claimed responsibility for the explosion but The Angry Brigade also claimed to have carried out the attack. It's likely it was the work of the Angry Brigade and not the IRA. [10]
  • 1972, 22 February: Aldershot bombing: The Official Irish Republican Army ('Official' IRA) detonated a car bomb at Aldershot British Army base, Hampshire. The blast killed seven civilian staff.
  • 1972, 19 September: The Palestinian terrorist group Black September posted a letter bomb to the Israeli embassy in London killing an Israeli diplomat. [11][12]
  • 1973, 8 March: The Provisional Irish Republican Army ('Provisional' IRA) planted four car bombs in London. Two of the bombs exploded outside the Old Bailey and the Ministry of Agriculture, injuring dozens. The bombs outside New Scotland Yard and an army recruitment office near Whitehall were defused.
  • 1973, 10 September: The Provisional IRA set off bombs at London's King's Cross and Euston stations, injuring 21 people. [13]
  • 1973, 18 December: 1973 Westminster bombing: An IRA car bomb exploded outside the Home Office building in Millbank, London, injuring 60 people.
  • 1974, 4 February: M62 coach bombing: An IRA bomb exploded aboard a bus carrying British soldiers and several of their family members in Yorkshire, killing nine soldiers and three civilians.
  • 1974, 17 June: Houses of Parliament bombing: An IRA bomb exploded at the Houses of Parliament, causing extensive damage and injuring 11 people. [14]
  • 1974 17 July: Tower of London bombing: A bomb exploded in the Tower of London, killing one and injuring 41.
  • 1974, 5 October: Guildford pub bombings: IRA bombs exploded in two pubs frequented by off-duty British military personnel in Guildford, Surrey. Four soldiers and a civilian were killed and 44 injured.
  • 1974, 22 October: An IRA bomb exploded in Brooks's gentleman's club in London, injuring three people. [15]
  • 1974, 7 November: An IRA bomb exploded in a pub frequented by British military personnel in Woolwich, London, killing a soldier and a civilian.
  • 1974, 14 November: James Patrick McDade, Lieutenant in the Birmingham Battalion, of the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) was killed in a premature explosion whilst planting a bomb at the Coventry telephone exchange in 1974.
  • 1974, 21 November: Birmingham pub bombings: IRA bombs exploded in two pubs in Birmingham, killing 21 people and injuring 182.
  • 1974, 18 December: 1974 Bristol bombing: Two IRA bombs exploded in one of Bristol's shopping districts in the run up to Christmas, injuring 17. [16]
  • 1975, 27 January: An IRA bomb exploded at Lewis's department store in Manchester, England. [17] Following a warning telephoned to the Press Association at 16:07 pm, the bomb exploded 17 minutes later injuring 19 people, one of them seriously. [18] Seven bombs were also planted in London, five of them exploded injuring six people. [18]
  • 1975, 27 August: Caterham Arms pub bombing: An IRA bomb exploded in a pub frequented by British military personnel in Caterham, Surrey, injuring 33. [19]
  • 1975, 5 September: An IRA bomb exploded in the lobby of the Hilton Hotel, London, killing two people and injuring 63.
  • 1975, 9 October: Green Park tube station bombing: An IRA bomb exploded by Green Park tube station in London, killing one.
  • 1975, 18 November: IRA members threw a bomb into Walton's restaurant in London, killing two people and injuring 23.
  • 1975, 27 November: IRA gunmen assassinated political activist and television personality Ross McWhirter in Enfield Town, London. [20]
  • 1975, 6–12 December: Balcombe Street siege: Four IRA members, who were fleeing from the police, barricaded themselves inside a flat in London and held the two occupants hostage. The siege lasted for six days and ended when the IRA members surrendered and released the hostages.
  • 1975, 20 December: Biddy Mulligan's pub bombing: The Ulster Defence Association (UDA) bombed Biddy Mulligan's pub in the Kilburn area of London. Five people were injured. It said it bombed the pub because it was frequented by Irish republican sympathizers. [21]
  • 1976, 4 March: Cannon Street train bombing: An IRA bomb exploded in an empty train at Cannon Street station in London, injuring eight.
  • 1976, 15 March: West Ham station attack: An IRA bomb exploded on a train at West Ham station in London, injuring seven. The bomber then shot two people while fleeing, killing one.
  • 1976, 27 March: Olympia bombing: An IRA bomb exploded at the Olympia, London, killing one and injuring over 80 people.
  • 1977, 31 December: Explosive device detonated inside the passenger compartment of car owned by the Embassy of the Syrian Arab Republic killing two members of Syrian embassy staff. [22]
  • 1978, 17 December: Co-ordinated IRA bombs exploded in Manchester, Liverpool, Coventry, Bristol and Southampton, injuring at least seven in Bristol. [23]
  • 1979, 17 January: A bomb exploded at a Texaco oil terminal on Canvey Island, Essex, tearing a hole in a tank that was initially thought to contain aviation fuel. [24][25]
  • 1979, 17 February: Glasgow pub bombings: The Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) bombed two pubs frequented by Catholics in Glasgow, Scotland. Both pubs were wrecked and a number of people were wounded. It said it bombed the pubs because they were used for Irish republican fundraising. [26]
  • 1979, 30 March: Airey Neave killed when a bomb exploded under his car as he drove out of the Palace of Westminster car park. The Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) claimed responsibility.


  • 1980, 30 April: Iranian Embassy siege: Six Iranian Arab gunmen stormed the Iranian Embassy in London and took hostages. The siege lasted for six days, until the hostages were rescued in a raid by the SAS which was broadcast live on TV. Two of the hostages were killed, while the hostage-takers were all either killed or captured.
  • 1981 January: Bomb inside RAF band barracks in RAF Uxbridge. A security patrol discovered the bomb surrounded by drums of petrol. The barracks were evacuated but the device exploded before the bomb disposal arrived. The blast was heard up to 2 miles away. There were two minor injuries.
  • 1981, 10 October: The IRA detonated a bomb outside Chelsea Barracks, London, killing two and injuring 39.
  • 1981, 26 October: The IRA bombed a Wimpy Bar on Oxford Street, killing Kenneth Howorth, the Metropolitan Police explosives officer attempting to defuse it.
  • 1982, 14 March: The bombing of the London offices of theAfrican National Congress (ANC), which opposed the apartheid government of South Africa, wounding one person who was living upstairs. General Johann Coetzee, former head of the South African Security Police, and seven other policemen accepted responsibility for the attack after the end of the apartheid government. [27]
  • 1982, 20 July: Hyde Park and Regent's Park bombings: IRA bombs exploded during British military ceremonies in Hyde Park and Regent's Park, London, killing eleven soldiers of the Household Cavalry and the Royal Green Jackets.
  • 1983, 17 December: Harrods bombing: An IRA car bomb exploded outside Harrods department store in London, following a telephoned warning. Five people were killed, including three police officers, and the sixth victim - another police officer - died in hospital from his injuries a week later. 90 other people were injured but survived.
  • 1984, 12 October: Brighton hotel bombing: In an attempt to assassinate Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, the IRA detonated a bomb in the Grand Brighton Hotel during the Conservative Party conference. It killed five Conservative Party members, including MP Anthony Berry.
  • 1988, 21 December: Pan Am Flight 103 blown up by a bomb in a suitcase while in flight over Lockerbie, Scotland after taking off from Heathrow. All 259 of the plane's passengers and crew were killed, along with 11 Lockerbie residents, claiming a total of 270 lives.
  • 1989, 3 August: A man using the alias Mustafa Mahmoud Mazeh accidentally blew himself up along with two floors of a central London hotel while preparing a bomb intended to kill author Salman Rushdie. [28]
  • 1989, 22 September: Deal barracks bombing: Eleven Royal Marines bandsmen were killed and 22 injured when an IRA bomb exploded at the Royal Marines base in Deal, Kent.


  • 1990, 14 May: The IRA bombed an army education centre in Eltham, London, injuring seven.
  • 1990, 16 May: The IRA bombed a minibus at an army recruitment centre in Wembley, London, killing one soldier and injuring four.
  • 1990, 1 June: A British soldier was killed and two wounded in an IRA gun attack at Lichfield City railway station, Staffordshire.
  • 1990, 9 June: Honourable Artillery Company bombing: The IRA detonated a bomb at the Honourable Artillery Company's barracks in London, injuring 19.
  • 1990, 26 June: Carlton Club bombing: The IRA bombed a London club for Conservative politicians, fatally wounding one and injuring 20.
  • 1990, 20 July: London Stock Exchange bombing: The IRA detonated a bomb at the London Stock Exchange causing damage to the building but no injuries. [29]
  • 1990, 30 July: Ian Gow, Conservative MP, was assassinated by the IRA when a booby trap bomb exploded under his car outside his home in East Sussex. [30]
  • 1991, 4 January: An IRA bomb exploded and a shot was fired at the entrance to Territorial Army Firing Range, Cannock Chase, Staffordshire. No injuries.
  • 1991, 7 February: The IRA carried out a mortar attack of 10 Downing Street, in an attempt to assassinate Prime Minister John Major and his cabinet. One of the shells exploded in the back garden of 10 Downing Street but there were no deaths.
  • 1991, 18 February: An IRA bomb exploded at Victoria Station. One man killed and 38 people injured.
  • 1991, 15 November: An IRA bomb exploded in St Albans city centre. Two fatalities, both members of the provisional IRA (Patricia Black and Frankie Ryan), were the only casualties.
  • 1992, 28 February: An IRA bomb exploded at London Bridge station, injuring 29 people.
  • 1992, 10 April: Baltic Exchange bombing: A large IRA truck bomb exploded outside the Baltic Exchange building in the City of London, following a telephoned warning. It killed three people and caused £800 million worth of damage – more than the total damaged caused by the 10,000 explosions that had occurred during the Troubles in Northern Ireland up to that point. [31] A few hours later a bomb exploded in Staples Corner.
  • 1992, 25 August: The IRA planted three firebombs in Shrewsbury, Shropshire. Bombs were placed in Shoplatch, The Charles Darwin Centre and Shrewsbury Castle, the latter causing the most damage as the castle housed the Shropshire Regimental Museum and many priceless historical artifacts were lost and damaged by fire and smoke. No fatalities or injuries were recorded.
  • 1992, 12 October: Sussex Arms bombing: A bomb exploded in the gents' toilet of a pub in Covent Garden, killing one person and injuring four others.
  • 1992, 16 November: IRA planted a bomb at the Canary Wharf, but was spotted by security guards. The bomb failed to detonate.
  • 1992, 3 December: The IRA detonated two car bombs in central Manchester, injuring 65 people. [32]
  • 1992, 10 December: Wood Green Shopping City bombing. Two IRA bin bombs injure 11 people.
  • 1993, 28 January: 1993 Harrods bombing: Far-left Red Action members together with the IRA bombed Harrods in London, injuring four.
  • 1993, 26 February: Warrington bomb attacks (Part 1): IRA bombs attached to gas storage facilities exploded, causing widespread damage and a dramatic fireball. PC Mark Toker was shot three times by the bombers after pulling over their van hours before.
  • 1993, 27 February: Camden Town bombing: An IRA bomb exploded on Camden High Street in London, injuring 18.
  • 1993, 20 March: Warrington bomb attacks (Part 2): Two bombs exploded in litter bins in a shopping precinct in Warrington, Cheshire, killing a three-year-old boy and injuring 55 people. The second bomb occurred within a minute of the first, directly in the path of many of those fleeing from the initial blast. A 12-year-old boy became the second fatality when he died in hospital from his injuries several days later. A warning had been telephoned to a Samaritans in Liverpool 30 minutes before the detonation, but hadn't specified Warrington.
  • 1993, 24 April: Bishopsgate bombing: The IRA detonated a huge (equivalent to 1.2 tonnes of TNT) truck bomb in the City of London at Bishopsgate. Police had received a telephoned warning but were still evacuating the area at the time of the explosion. A newspaper photographer was killed, over 40 people were injured, and £350 million worth of damage was caused. [31]
  • 1994, March: Heathrow mortar attacks: The IRA launched a series of mortar attacks on Heathrow Airport near London. The attacks caused severe disruption but little damage.
  • 1994, 26–27 July: A group of Palestinians detonated two car bombs in London, one outside the Israeli embassy[33] and one outside Balfour House, home to a Jewish charity. The attacks injured twenty people. [33]
  • 1994, 13 August: 2.5 lbs of Semtex packed into a bicycle left outside Woolworths in Bognor Regis, exploded damaging 15 shops. A similar bomb found in nearby Brighton. [34]
  • 1996, 9 February: London Docklands bombing: The IRA detonated a powerful truck bomb in the Canary Wharf financial district of London, following telephoned warnings. The blast caused severe damage and killed two people.
  • 1996, 18 February: Aldwych bus bombing: An improvised high explosive device detonated prematurely on a bus travelling along Aldwych in central London, killing Edward O'Brien, the IRA member transporting the device and injuring eight others.
  • 1996, 15 June: Manchester bombing: The IRA detonated a powerful truck bomb in central Manchester, following a telephoned warning. It was the biggest bomb detonated in Britain since the Second World War. It caused widespread damage and injured over 200 people, but there were no deaths.
  • 1999, 17 April, 24 April, 30 April: 1999 London nail bombings: David Copeland set off three nail bombs in London targeting the black, Bangladeshi and gay communities respectively, killing three people (including a pregnant woman) and injuring 129. Copeland, a far-right extremist, was convicted of murder on 30 June 2000.


  • 2000, 20 September: The Real IRA fired an RPG-22rocket launcher at the MI6 headquarters in London.
  • 2001, 4 March: The Real IRA detonated a car bomb outside the BBCTelevision Centre in London, damaging the front of the building and injuring one person. [35]
  • 2001, 3 August: The Real IRA detonated a car bomb in Ealing, London, damaging buildings and injuring seven people.
  • 2005, 7 July: 7/7 central London bombings conducted by four separate Islamist extremist suicide bombers, which targeted civilians using the public transport system during the morning rush hour. Three bombs were detonated on three separate trains on the London Underground and one on a double-decker bus. As well as the suicide bombers, 52 other people were killed and around 700 more were injured. It was the UK's worst terrorist incident since the 1988 Lockerbie bombing and the first Islamist suicide attack in the country.
  • 2007, January–February: Miles Cooper letter bomb campaign. Miles Cooper said he was motivated by anti-authoritarianism and opposition to surveillance. [36]
  • 2007, 30 June: Two Islamic terrorists drove a Jeep Cherokee loaded with propane canisters into the glass doors of the Glasgow Airport terminal, setting it ablaze. Five people were injured and the only death was of one of the perpetrators, who later died in hospital from his injuries. It was the first terrorist attack to take place in Scotland since the Lockerbie bombing in 1988.


  • 2010, 14 May: MP Stephen Timms was stabbed during his constituency surgery by Roshonara Choudhry, a British Islamic extremist, in an attempt to kill him. She was found guilty of attempted murder and jailed for life with a minimum term of 15 years. Choudhry was the first Al-Qaeda sympathiser to attempt an assassination in Britain.
  • 2013, 29 April to 12 July: Pavlo Lapshyn, a Ukrainian student and right-wing extremist, fatally stabbed Birmingham resident Mohammed Saleem on 29 April. Lapshyn later detonated a home-made bomb outside a mosque in Walsall on 21 June. [37] On 28 June, Lapshyn detonated a second home-made bomb near a mosque in Wolverhampton, and attacked a mosque in Tipton with an improvised explosive device containing nails on 12 July. He later admitted to police that he wished to start a "race war" [38] and was sentenced to serve at least 40 years. [39][40][41]
  • 2013, 22 May: A British soldier, Lee Rigby, was murdered in an attack in Woolwich by Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale, two Islamist extremists armed with a handgun, knives and a cleaver. Both men were sentenced to life imprisonment, with Adebolajo given a whole life order and Adebowale ordered to serve at least 45 years. [42]
  • 2014, 10–14 February: The New Irish Republican Army (NIRA) claims responsibility for a series of parcel bombs sent to army recruitment offices in Oxford, Brighton, Canterbury, Slough, Aldershot, Reading and Chatham. [43][44]
  • 2016, 16 June: Murder of Jo Cox – Thomas Mair, a 52-year-old white nationalist, shot and stabbed the MP Jo Cox outside a surgery in Birstall, West Yorkshire, and severely wounded a passerby who came to her aid. The attack was treated as an act of terrorism, [45] and in sentencing Mair to life imprisonment the judge said "There is no doubt that this murder was done for the purpose of advancing a political, racial and ideological cause namely that of violent white supremacism and exclusive nationalism most associated with Nazism and its modern forms". [46]
  • 2017, 22 March: 2017 Westminster attack – Khalid Masood, a 52-year-old Islamist, drove a car into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge, killing four and injuring almost fifty. He ran into the grounds of the Palace of Westminster and fatally stabbed Keith Palmer (police officer), before being shot dead by police. The attack was treated as an act of terrorism motivated by Islamic extremism. [47][48][49][50]
  • 2017, 22 May: Manchester Arena bombing – An Islamist suicide bomber, 22-year-old Salman Abedi, blew himself up at Manchester Arena as people were leaving a concert, killing 22 and injuring 139. It became the deadliest terrorist attack in Britain since the 7/7 London bombings in 2005. Many of the victims were children or teenagers, the youngest being an eight-year-old girl. [51][52]
  • 2017, 3 June: 2017 London Bridge attack – Three Islamists drove a van into pedestrians on London bridge before stabbing people in and around pubs in nearby Borough Market. Eight people were killed and at least 48 wounded. [53][54][55] The attackers were shot dead by police eight minutes after the incident was reported. All three were wearing fake suicide bomb vests.
  • 2017, 19 June: Finsbury Park attack – Darren Osborne, a 47 year old British man, drove a van into Muslim worshippers near Finsbury Park Mosque, London. A man who had earlier collapsed and was receiving first aid died at the scene. The incident was investigated by counter-terrorism police as a terrorist attack. [56][57][58] On 23 June, Osborne was charged with terrorism-related murder and attempted murder. [59][60] In February 2018 at Woolwich Crown Court, he was found guilty on both counts [61] and was sentenced to life imprisonment.
  • 2017, 15 September: Parsons Green bombing – The London tube train was targeted and witnesses reported a flash and bang. [62] Thirty people were injured, mostly with flash burns and crush injuries, but there were no fatalities. The threat level was raised to its highest point of critical soon after. [63]
  • 2018, 14 August: 2018 Westminster car attack - A Ford Fiesta ran down pedestrians outside the palace of Westminster. The car then went on to crash into the security barrier, after aiming at two police officers. [64]
  • 2018, 31 December: Mahdi Mohamud, a Dutch national from a Somali family, stabbed three in a knife attack at Manchester Victoria station. Mohamud shouted "Allahu Akbar!" and "Long live the Caliphate!" during the attack. Despite suffering from paranoid schizophrenia, Mahomud was convicted of a terror offence and attempted murder of three people due to his possession of significant amounts of extremist material and the attack's extensive planning.
  • 2019, 29 November: 2019 London Bridge stabbing - On 29 November 2019, police were called to a stabbing near London Bridge, in Central London, England, at 1:58 pm. A statement said that one man was detained, and "a number of people" were injured. Two people were killed in the attack and three were left injured. The attacker, 28 year old Usman Khan, was shot dead by police and confirmed dead on the scene. [65][66]


  • 2020, 9 January: Two inmates at Whitemoor prison in Cambridgeshire wearing realistic fake suicide vests, and carrying improvised bladed weapons, stabbed one prison officer several times causing serious injuries and harmed several others.
  • 2020, 2 February: 2020 Streatham stabbing - Sudesh Amman, wearing a fake suicide vest similar to the one used in the 2019 London Bridge stabbing, was shot dead by armed police after stabbing and injuring two people in Lambeth Borough of Streatham. One of the victims sustained life-threatening injuries.
  • 2020, 20 June: 2020 Reading stabbings - On 20 June 2020, Khairi Saadallah, shouting "Allahu Akbar", attacked two groups of people socialising in Forbury Gardens, a public park in the centre of Reading, killing 3 and injuring 3 others. On 11 January 2021, he was given a whole-life jail term. The sentencing judge said that it was a terrorist attack and that the purpose was to advance an extremist Islamic cause [67]

These are known attacks which could have constituted a threat to life had they worked or been large enough. The list does not include attacks that were only at the planning stage, but were not actually in operation.

  • 1605, 5 November: Gunpowder Plot: A pro-Catholic conspiracy attempted to assassinate King James VI and I during the State Opening of Parliament where the polity of England had assembled, including the lords spiritual and temporal and members of parliament. 36 barrels of gunpowder were found under the Palace of Westminster being guarded by Guy Fawkes. The attempt was foiled and Fawkes and the leaders of the conspiracy were convicted of high treason and sentenced to be hanged, drawn and quartered.
  • 1894, 15 February: Anarchist Martial Bourdin was killed by his own bomb outside the Royal Observatory in Greenwich Park. There were no other casualties. [68]Joseph Conrad's novel The Secret Agent, published in 1907, drew on this event.
  • 1981, January: the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) planted a bomb in the Suvla barrack block at RAF Uxbridge. The device was discovered, and the 35 RAF musicians and 15 airmen living there were evacuated before it exploded.
  • 1985: Police found 10 grenades, seven petrol bombs and two detonators at the home of former Group Development Director for the British National Party, Tony Lecomber, after he was injured by a nail bomb that he was carrying to the offices of the Workers' Revolutionary Party. Convicted under the Explosive Substances Act 1883.
  • 1992, 1 March: An IRA bomb was defused by police at White Hart Lane train station in London.
  • 1993, 23 October: In Reading, Berkshire, an IRA bomb exploded at a signal post near the railway station, some hours after 5 lb (2 kg) of Semtex was found in the toilets of the station. The resulting closure of the railway line and evacuation of the station caused travel chaos for several hours, but no-one was injured.
  • 1996, 24 April: 1996 Hammersmith Bridge bombing attempt.
  • 2000, 1 June: Real IRA suspected of planting a high-explosive device attached to a girder under the south side of Hammersmith Bridge, which detonated at 4:30 am. [69]
  • 2000, 17 November: Police arrested Moinul Abedin. His Birmingham house contained bomb-making instructions, equipment, and traces of the explosive HTMD. A nearby lock-up rented by Abedin contained 100 kg of the chemical components of HTMD. [70] In March 2020, Jonathan Evans, former Director General of MI5 gave an interview and commented on the case: 'The first indication that we had an actual, live, real threat in the U.K. the first arrest of anybody in the U.K. linked to al-Qaeda who was planning an attack here. with the fall of the Taliban and the Afghan camps in 2001/2002, evidence came to light which demonstrated that this was an at least inspired al-Qaeda plot of some sort'. [71]
  • 2001, 3 November: The 2001 Birmingham bombing by the Real Irish Republican Army. The bomb failed to explode. [72]
  • 2005, 21 July: The 21 July 2005 London bombings, also conducted by four would-be Islamic suicide bombers on the public transport, whose bombs failed to detonate.
  • 2006, 28 September: Talbot Street bomb-making haul.
  • 2007, 1 February: Plot to behead a British Muslim soldier in order to undermine the morale of the British Army. Pervaiz Khan, Basiru Gassama, Zahoor Iqbal, Mohammed Irfan, and Hamid Elasmar were sentenced to between 40 months and life for the plot.
  • 2007, 29 June: London car bombs. Bilal Abdullah and Kafeel Ahmed were found to be involved in planting the bombs. Both were also responsible for the Glasgow Airport Attack.
  • 2008, 22 May: Exeter attempted bombing in a café toilet by an Islamist extremist, injuring only the perpetrator.
  • 2009, 3 September: Manchester Piccadilly multiple suicide bomber plot. [73] In 2009, Pakistani national Abid Naseer, was one of 12 suspects arrested on suspicion of being part of a Manchester Terror cell, after arriving in the UK a year before. All were released on insufficient evidence, but ordered to be deported from the UK. Naseer's deportation to Pakistan was prevented on human rights grounds, as he was ruled 'likely to be mistreated'. In 2013, on further evidence from Al-Qaeda sources, including documents from the bin Laden Raid, he was extradited to the US, and on 4 March 2015 was found guilty of masterminding an Al-Qaeda directed plot to synchronize multiple suicide bombings around Manchester's Arndale Centre and Piccadilly shopping centre in a coordinated attack involving other locations, including the New York Subway, with other cells.
  • 2012, June: Five Islamic extremists plotted to bomb an English Defence League rally in Dewsbury but arrived late and were arrested when returning to Birmingham. A sixth was also convicted. [74]
  • 2013, April: As part of Operation Pitsford, 11 Muslim extremists are jailed for a plotting terror attack involving suicide bombers. [75]
  • 2015, 7 July: Attempted anniversary London 7/7 bomb plot. [76] Mohammed Rehman and Sana Ahmed Khan were sentenced to life imprisonment for preparing an act of terrorism. [77] They had 10 kg of urea nitrate. Rehman called himself the 'silent bomber' and asked his Twitter followers to choose between the Westfield Shopping Centre or the London Underground for the planned suicide bomb.
  • 2017, 25 August: Mohiussunnath Chowdhuryslashed police officers with a sword outside Buckingham Palace while shouting "Allahu akbar" repeatedly. He was found not guilty of terrorism by a court, but was charged with a single count of preparing an act of terrorism. During and after release from prison, he went on to plan further terror attacks, and was arrested in 2018.
  • 2017, 28 November: In an attempt to kill Prime Minister Theresa May, Islamic State terrorist Naa'imur Zakariyah Rahman was arrested in London after collecting a fake bomb and suicide vest from undercover operatives. [78]
  • 2018, February: Ethan Stables, a white supremacist, was arrested plotting a machete attack in an LGBT parade. [79]
  • 2018, 9 April: Fatah Mohammed Abdullah "bought more than 8,000 matches, fireworks, fuses, explosives precursors – or substances that could be used to manufacture explosives – and a remote control detonator." He pleaded guilty to inciting people to commit terror attacks in Germany, and buying explosive equipment.
  • 2019, 3 July: Mohiussunnath Chowdhury and his sister were arrested for planning to target London tourist sites including Madame Tussauds, Piccadilly Circus, and London's Gay Pride parade, using a vehicle, knife and gun. He was convicted of plotting terror acts on 10 February 2020.
  • 2020, 21 February: Islamic State supporter Safiyya Shaikh was arrested after she admitted plotting to blow herself up in a bomb attack on St Paul's Cathedral, stating that she would "kill 'til I'm dead" [80]

Given the nature of counter-terrorism, successes in preventing terrorist attacks in the UK will not always come to light, or not be as heavily promoted as intelligence failures. However, during the police advocacy of 90-day detention in relation to the Terrorism Act 2006 they produced documents listing all the cases about which they could not go into details. [81] Authorities often state, without going into details, numbers of attacks prevented, e.g. 12 attacks were reported in March 2017 to have been thwarted in the previous year, some only hours before they were to have been attempted. [82]

These are cases where either the Terrorism Acts were invoked, or which the authorities alleged were terrorist in nature at the time. This list includes both plots that were foiled at an early stage before any materials were actually assembled, and totally innocent suspects.

Terrorism and Technology: Strange Bedfellows in the Digital Age

Commenting on the Moscow subway bombings, Council on Foreign Relations President Richard Haass sees the tragedy as a "reminder of just how vulnerable. [we] are. to these kinds of low-tech immediate threats." He asserts, "there's no way you can protect every train, every shopping mall, every part of a modern open society." Grimly, he concludes, "Alas, what happened there can happen in places like here!"

Doubtless, Haass is right. It is difficult, if not impossible, to stop a suicide bomber determined to blow up a subway train. But with technology, we can make it more difficult for him or her. Writing about the "River War" in the Sudan in 1900, Churchill warned against the dangers fanatic Islam posed to Western civilization, observing not without prescience that "were it not that [Europe] is sheltered in the strong arms of science. it might fall as fell the civilization of ancient Rome."

Recognizing that it is not feasible to subject rush hour subway riders to airport-type screening, the "strong arms of science" can still protect us -- even in Haass' "modern open society." Surveillance cameras can help identify terrorists and give early warning of an imminent attack. Cell phone service largely does not exist in the New York City subways, but it would improve exponentially the ability of citizens using the system to communicate with the police. Explosive detection equipment can be used at key access points to the system.

Remember that the Moscow terrorists coordinated their rush hour attacks to occur at two strategically significant positions, namely, the Lubyanka station, which was next to Federal Security Service (formerly KGB) headquarters, and the Park Kulturi station near Gorky Park. Algorithms can be used to narrow down the likely time and place of a possible attack based on core data. All of these hi-tech approaches will certainly be implemented in our major target mass transit urban centers--Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington and New York, if they are not in place already.

The Internet has proved a double-edge sword in the war on terror. Though technology has aided the security forces in detecting and thwarting terrorist operations, it has, at the same time, helped terrorists wreak their evil handiwork.

London Bridge attack: Timeline of British terror attacks

Here is a list of some major terrorist attacks and attempted terror plots going back to 1996:

A group of Muslim worshippers were hit when a van mounted the pavement and drove into them in Finsbury Park. The attack happened during the holy month of Ramadan after 00:00 BST, when many people were in the area attending evening prayers. One man, who had fallen ill before the attack, died and nine other people were treated in hospital. A 47-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of terrorism offences.

An attack in London left seven people dead and 48 injured. A white van hit pedestrians on London Bridge before three men got out of the vehicle and began stabbing people in nearby Borough Market. The suspects were shot dead by police minutes later.

An attack in Manchester left 22 people dead and 59 injured after a male suicide bomber targeted children and young adults at the end of a concert at the Manchester Arena by US singer Ariana Grande. The bomber, Salman Ramadan Abedi, 22, was born in Manchester to Libyan parents.

Six people, including the attacker, died and 50 people were injured in a terror attack near the Houses of Parliament. Khalid Masood mounted the pavement in a hired car and drove into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge. He then ran towards Parliament and stabbed a police officer to death before being shot dead by officers.

Thomas Mair shot and stabbed to death Labour MP Jo Cox in Birstall, West Yorkshire. Mair, who accessed extremist websites and was an avid reader of far-right literature, shouted: "Britain first," in the attack. He was given a whole life sentence for the murder.

A man attacked Tube passengers with a knife at Leytonstone station in east London. Muhiddin Mire shouted: "This is for my Syrian brothers, I'm going to spill your blood," before he was finally subdued. Mire, who had a history of mental illness, was jailed for life. The judge at his trial said he had been driven by "Islamic extremism".

British soldier Lee Rigby was murdered in Woolwich, south-east London by Islamic extremists Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale. The men drove into Fusilier Rigby with a car before attacking him with a knife. Adebolajo was given a whole-life term and Adebowale was jailed for a minimum of 45 years.

A failed suicide nail-bomb attack occurred at the Giraffe restaurant in Exeter. Nicky Reilly - a Muslim convert - was the only person injured when the homemade device went off in his hands in the restaurant's toilets. Reilly was found dead in Manchester prison in 2016.

A Jeep was driven into the main terminal building at Glasgow Airport in an attempted suicide attack. Five people were hurt. One of the perpetrators, Kafeel Ahmed, died about a month later from severe burns sustained in the crash. The other, Bilal Abdullah - an Iraqi-born doctor - was sentenced to a minimum of 32 years in prison.

Two car bombs were discovered and disabled in London's West End. The first was left near the Tiger Tiger nightclub - police sources said it would have caused "carnage" if it had exploded. The second was found in a Mercedes after it was given a parking ticket in Cockspur Street and towed to Park Lane.

Four attempted bombings took place exactly two weeks after the 7 July blasts. As with the previous plot, the attacks targeted the public transport system - but the devices failed to explode. In July 2007, four men were each sentenced to life imprisonment.

Co-ordinated suicide bombings targeted London's public transport system during the morning rush hour. Three bombs exploded on separate underground trains and a fourth exploded on a double-decker bus. It was the worst terror attack since the Lockerbie bombing in 1988 and left 52 victims dead and 700 injuries.

A car bomb planted by the Real IRA exploded around midnight in Ealing Broadway. Seven people were injured.

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