On the morning of July 7, 2005, three bombs detonated in the London subway system during rush hour. While the attack was originally thought to be an electrical problem, a second attack on a double decker bus, less than an hour later, made it clear that the damage in the subway was not an accident. What was supposed to be a joyous time for the city of London, having just won the Olympic bid for 2012, turned to tragedy with the first suicide attacks in London’s history.
At the time of the attack, a G8 Summit was taking place nearby in Scotland. At first it was believed that there was a connection between the two events, however no one at the Summit was directly affected. In the attack 56 people died, and around 700 were injured, making this the largest attack on Britain since World War II.
Al-Qaeda promptly released a videotape to the Al-Jazeera network claiming responsibility for the attack. The four bombers were all young men, ages ranging from 18 to 30, who lived in the United Kingdom, three born to Pakistani immigrants, one born in Jamaica. None of the four bombers were on the radar of the British government before the attacks.
Immediately following the attacks in the subway, all lines were shut down to investigate what happened. Meanwhile rush hour traffic was redirected to buses to limit the impact of the shut down. After the explosion of the fourth bomb, other modes of public transportation were quickly shutdown. All planes coming from London were met with increased security upon landing, as government agencies around the world scrambled to stop the damage, and find those responsible.
Families of the 56 victims suffered an unimaginable loss that day, but adding insult to injury, “News of the World” a London based magazine hacked the phones of victims’ family members in an effort to get an inside story.
As with many terrorist attacks many conspiracy theories were created; some linking the attacks to the government, some claiming that indentifying the attackers was too convenient. Despite these theories all official reports acknowledge that Al-Qaeda is responsible for this tragic incident.