July 7th Timeline of Events
An introduction to the many and varied reports of what happened on July 7th. This is working document with regular updates.
Prior to July 7th
11 September 2001
|The Mayor of New York, Rudolph Giuliani, was organising a ‘terror drill’ called Tripod II sat New York’s Pier 92. It was modelled on a biochemical attack upon New York citizens, and was scheduled for the two days of the 11th and 12th September. As the events of 9/11 unfolded, Giuliani found himself well able to co-ordinate rescue events from that pier, because ‘the equipment was already there’ for establishing a command centre. His terror drill had mysteriously synchronised with the real thing (1). In the weeks following, Giuliani ordered that all the steel wreckage of the twin towers be swiftly removed, without allowing experts to analyse it, as would have given an indication of how the towers had fallen; and he further gave the order that any photography around ‘ground zero’ was illegal.|
|16 May 2004||A BBC Panorama program, London Under Attack, depicted a fictional terrorist attack involving three bombs on London Underground trains, followed by a fourth bomb on overground transportation device in central London about an hour later. The programme featured 'mock broadcasts' put together by the BBC and featured BBC World relief presenter Kirsty Lang. In the mock broadcasts used in the show, Lang announced the conclusion of the Home Secretary that the fictional attack, ‘bears all the hallmarks of Al-Qaeda’. The programme featured the Managing Director of Visor Consultants, Peter Power, as an advisor and commentator throughout (2). You can read a transcript of this programme here . Peter Power just happened to be doing a very similar thing again, featuring more 'mock broadcasts' on 7th July 2005, the day of the incidents in London.|
|4-8 April 2005||The anti-terror drill ‘Exercise Atlantic Blue’ (UK-US-Canada) played out terrorist attacks on UK transport networks that coincided with a major international summit. It aimed to ascertain ‘how safe London Transport systems were from attack’ and included bombs being placed on buses and also explosives left on the London Underground. Over two thousand UK personell were involved in planning and delivery of the exercise (3). It was a ‘command post’ exercise, which meant that it worked on a strategic rather than an operational level and did not involve live action on the ground. Its command centre was located at Hendon, on the Northern line. The concurrent American exercise, which involved several times more personell and did involve live action on the ground, was codenamed TOPOFF 3.|
|2-4 July 2005||Live 8 happens: At ten venues in four continents, rock musicians played for free. They called for a ‘historic breakthrough’ in cancelling of Africa’s debt at the forthcoming G8 summit.|
|4th July 2005||The British government announce a ‘significant’ withdrawal of UK troops from Iraq over the next 18 months. Ministers from France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK met up in France to promote the agenda of electronic national ID cards; also, they agreed to step up the anti-terrorist struggle: 4-6th July (4).|
|6th July 2005||London awarded 2012 Olympics, leading to a mood of national jubilation G8 summit begins in Scotland, President Bush arrives at 3 pm. Mayor Giuliani, over from New York, spoke to UK councillors in Harrogate, Yorkshire, at a Local Government Association conference. He praised the ‘war on terror’ being conducted by Bush and Blair and the importance of taking a tough stance on the matter. He then travelled down to London that evening, staying at a hotel at Liverpool Street near where the Aldgate tube bomb went off. The purpose of his visit remained undisclosed.|
The Day of July 7th
Note: Timeline entries from the official Home Office report, are shown in blue text.
|3:58am||A light blue Nissan Micra is caught on CCTV in Hyde Park Road, Leeds, prior to joining the M1 outside Leeds. This car was hired by Shehzad Tanweer and is believed to have been carrying Tanweer, Mohammad Sidique Khan and Hasib Hussain. Hyde Park Road is close to 18 Alexandra Grove – the flat which appears to have been the bomb factory.|
|4.54am||The Micra stops at Woodall Services on the M1 to fill up with petrol. Tanweer goes in to pay. He is wearing a white T-shirt, dark jacket, white tracksuit bottoms and a baseball cap. He buys snacks, quibbles with the cashier over his change, looks directly at the CCTV camera and leaves.|
|5.07am||A red Fiat Brava arrives at Luton station car park. Jermaine Lindsay is alone in this car. During the 90 minutes or so before the others arrive, Lindsay gets out and walks around, enters the station, looks up at the departure board, comes out, moves the car a couple of times. There are a handful of other cars in the car park. A few more arrive during this period.|
|6.29am||The Northern line was "suspended between Morden and Stockwell from 06:29 due to a defective train at Balham" (According to Transport For London) [Source]|
|6.49am||The Micra arrives at Luton and parks next to the Brava. The 4 men get out of their respective cars, look in the boots of both, and appear to move items between them. They each put on rucksacks which CCTV shows are large and full. The 4 are described as looking as if they were going on a camping holiday.
One car contained explosive devices of a different and smaller kind from those in the rucksacks. It is not clear what they were for, but they may have been for self-defence or diversion in case of interception during the journey given their size; that they were in the car rather than the boot; and that they were left behind. Also left in the Micra were other items consistent with the use of explosives. A 9mm handgun was also found in the Brava. The Micra had a day parking ticket in the window, perhaps to avoid attention, the Brava did not.
A Northern Line train stops in tunnel for 15 mins between Tooting Bec and Balham. Passengers finally have to disembark at Balham (exiting via driver’s carriage at front of train) and see many firemen around, scrutinising the bottom of another train already at the station. (5)
Lindsay, Hussain, Tanweer and Khan enter Luton station and go through the ticket barriers together. It is not known where they bought their tickets or what sort of tickets they possessed, but they must have had some to get on to the platform.
|7:21am||The 4 are caught on CCTV together heading to the platform for the King’s Cross Thameslink train. They are casually dressed, apparently relaxed. Tanweer’s posture and the way he pulls the rucksack on to his shoulder as he walks, suggests he finds it heavy. It is estimated that in each rucksack was 2-5 kg of high explosive. Tanweer is now wearing dark tracksuit bottoms. There is no explanation for this change at present.|
|7.40am||The London King’s Cross train leaves Luton station. There conflicting accounts of their behaviour on the train. Some report noisy conversations, another believes he saw 2 of standing silently by a set of train doors. The 4 stood out usual commuters due to their luggage and casual clothes, enough to cause suspicion. This was the beginning of the tourist period and Luton Station serves Luton Airport.>|
|7.57am||The Piccadilly Line was "suspended between King's Cross St Pancras and Arnos Grove from 07:57 to 08:28 due to a defective train at Caledonian Road." Reports of a fire at the station exist and fire engines were reported outside Caledonian Road station. [Source]|
|8.07am||Bakerloo Line was "suspended between Paddington and Elephant and Castle in both directions from 08:07 due to a defective train in Piccadilly Circus." [Source]|
|8.23am||The train arrives at King’s Cross, slightly late due to a delay further up the line. The 4 are captured on CCTV at 08.26am on the concourse close to the Thameslink platform and heading in the direction of the London Underground system. At around 08.30am, 4 men fitting their descriptions are seen hugging. They appear happy, even euphoric. They then split up. Khan must have gone to board a westbound Circle Line train, Tanweer an eastbound Circle Line train and Lindsay a southbound Piccadilly Line train. Hussain also appeared to walk towards the Piccadilly Line entrance.|
|8.25am||A fire engine parks outside Caledonian Road station.|
|8.26am||It is claimed the four alleged suicide bombers were recorded on CCTV at King’s Cross station at 8.26 or (later on) 'about 08:30'. None these pictures have never been made public.|
|8.30am||A notice at Arnos Grove Underground states, "Due to fire, Piccadilly Line suspended between Arnos Grove and Kings Cross".|
|8.35am||The Eastbound Circle line train No. 204 leaves King's Cross.|
|8.42am||The Westbound Circle line train No. 216 leaves King's Cross.|
|8.43am||Mossad office in London was alerted to a pending terror strike, 6 minutes before the first explosion (8). Israeli Finance Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (who had been calling for war with Iran) happened to be staying in a hotel close to one of the bomb blasts, for a Deutsche Bank and Tel Aviv Stock Exchange conference. Sometime between 8:43am and 9:15am he was warned not to go out due to a possible terrorist attack. He (and the Israeli Embassy) originally said that it was Scotland Yard who called in the warning, but they later denied this. London’s Mossad office has not clarified from whom they received this warning (9).|
|8:46am||First report of a "huge bang" at Aldgate East and passengers fleeing from Liverpool Street Station [Source: Evening Standard]|
|8.48am||The Westbound Piccadilly Line train No. 311 leaves King's Cross.|
|8.49am||The first report of a major incident at Liverpool Street station was received by the London ambulance service at 0849, within a minute of the blast. [BMJ Diary of Major Incident (PDF)]|
|8.50am||CCTV images show the platform at Liverpool Street with the eastbound Circle Line train alongside seconds before it is blown up. Shehzad Tanweer is not visible, but he must have been in the second carriage from the front. The images show commuters rushing to get on the train and a busy platform. Some get on, some just miss it. The train pulls out of the station. Seconds later smoke billows from the tunnel. There is shock and confusion on the platform as people make for the exits.
Forensic evidence suggests that Tanweer was sitting towards the back of the second carriage with the rucksack next to him on the floor. The blast killed 8 people, including Tanweer, with 171 injured.
At Edgware Road, Mohammad Sidique Khan was also in the second carriage from the front, most likely near the standing area by the first set of double doors. He was probably also seated with the bomb next to him on the floor. Shortly before the explosion, Khan was seen fiddling with the top of the rucksack. The explosion killed 7 including Khan, and injured 163 people.
On the Piccadilly Line, Jermaine Lindsay was in the first carriage as it travelled between King’s Cross and Russell Square. It is unlikely that he was seated. The train was crowded, with 127 people in the first carriage alone, which makes it difficult to position those involved.
Forensic evidence suggests the explosion occurred on or close to the floor of the standing area between the second and third set of seats. The explosion killed 27 people including Lindsay, and injured over 340.
Explosions occur almost simultaneously on three London Underground trains: between Aldgate and Liverpool Street stations on the Circle Line, between Russell Square and King's Cross stations on the Piccadilly Line, and at Edgware Road station on the Circle Line. Originally police thought only the Aldgate/Liverpool Street train was hit at about this time. The Russell Square/King's Cross blast was first reported at 8:56, and the Edgware Road blast at 9:17. They went off within a period of some 50 seconds. It is possible that two Piccadilly line trains exploded, with wounded passengers streaming out from King’s Cross and Russell Square. The cause of these events somewhat resembled a power-surge event. Let’s quote Bruce Lait, survivor of the Aldgate blast, speaking from his hospital bed: "We'd been on there for a minute at most and then something happened. It was like a huge electricity surge which knocked us out and burst our eardrums. I can still hear that sound now". Later, a policeman said to him, 'Mind that hole, that's where the bomb was' and Lait recalled, ‘The metal was pushed upwards as if the bomb was underneath the train’ (reported in Cambridge News). That does sound like a bomb planted underneath the train, however all sorts of electrical parts of the trains were also blown out and frazzled.
Rudolph Giuliani, who was mayor of New York City at the time of the 9/11 attacks, was staying at the Great Eastern hotel, close to Liverpool Street station, when the bombs went off. That was where a Tel Aviv Stock Exchange conference was due to begin, with Israel's Finance Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as keynote speaker. Earlier, as Israel’s Prime Minister back in 1996, Netanyahu had been officially welcomed to New York City by Giuliani. After quitting as Mayor of New York, Giuliani had set up the firm ‘Giuliani Security and Safety,’ and this specialized in "mock terror drills" and "emergency preparedness," just like Peter Power’s ‘Visor Consultants.’ The two companies enjoyed business contacts in these areas (10). After being told of the blasts, Giuliani went back to his hotel, to finish his breakfast.
|8.52am||Metropolitan Line - reports explosion between Liverpool Street and Aldgate.
NCC. Multiple reports of stations power failures. [7 July Review Committee Timeline]
|8.53am||Kings Cross. Report from Piccadilly Line loss of traction current & Piccadilly Line tunnel telephone system has failed. [7 July Review Committee Timeline]
Aldgate. Report from Station Supervisor loud bang and people with injuries appearing at station. NCC Gold Control established in NCC. [7 July Review Committee Timeline]
|8.55am||Hussain walks out of King’s Cross Underground onto Euston Telephone call records show that he tried unsuccessfully to contact the 3 other bombers on his mobile over the next few minutes. His demeanour over this period appears relaxed and unhurried.|
|8.59am||Edgware Road. Report that train has hit the tunnel wall and significant casualties. [7 July Review Committee Timeline]
NCC Call to London Fire Brigade and London Ambulance to attend three sites. [7 July Review Committee Timeline]
|9.00am||Hussain goes back into King’s Cross station through Boots and then goes into W H Smith on the station concourse and, it appears, buys a 9v battery. It is possible that a new battery was needed to detonate the device, but this is only speculation at this stage.
A suspicious-looking CCTV image that allegedly shows Hasib Hussain entering the main concourse from Kings Cross Boots’ chemist at 9.00am (there is no time stamp on the picture, no shadows, no feet are shown). At Marble Arch, a No. 30 bus turned around and started its return route. It arrived at Euston bus station at 09:35, where crowds of people had been evacuated from the tube and were boarding buses. This bus then followed a diversion from its normal route, supposedly because of road closures in the Kings Cross area resulting from the earlier tube bombings, and it visited Tavistock Square. There is however some discrepancy as to which way the bus was travelling - initial reports stated the bus was travelling from Hackney Wick to Marble Arch.
|9.01am||Metropolitan Line. Possible person under train – Liverpool Street. [7 July Review Committee Timeline]
Aldgate. Many casualties – need urgent help. [7 July Review Committee Timeline]
|9.02am||Hussain goes into McDonald’s on Euston Road, leaving about ten minutes later|
|9.02am||London Ambulance. Confirming units attending. Report of up to 6 incidents. [7 July Review Committee Timeline]|
|9.03am||Kings Cross. Reports of passengers running from tunnel on Piccadilly Line. [7 July Review Committee Timeline]|
|9.05am||Edgware Rd. Report of passengers walking from the tunnel. [7 July Review Committee Timeline]|
|9:10am||Second incident at King's Cross reported. [Source: Evening Standard]
Russell Square. Report of explosion in the tunnel. [7 July Review Committee Timeline]
|9.12am||First Alert Call – from Metropolitan Police to TfL and other Gold Partners. [7 July Review Committee Timeline]|
|9.15am||First reports of emergency services called to Liverpool Street Station. Police initially believe the three blasts took place some minutes apart, but this is later amended as more information comes to light. [The Independent]
NCC Gold. Complete System Evacuation “CODE AMBER” Declared. Other transport operators informed. [7 July Review Committee Timeline]
|9.17am||Explosion on train coming into Edgware Road underground station approx. 100 yards in the tunnel. There was an explosion on a train which blew through a wall onto another train on an adjoining platform. [Source: Wiltshire Police]|
|9.18am||According to Martin Flaherty, London Ambulance Director of Operations, this is when the first ambulance call-out to Russell Square was received: "Our first call for Russell Square was at 0918hrs and the first resources were on scene at 0930 and 0931, followed by the first manager at 0938. These were then followed by several more managers at 1004. It is clear, however, that sufficient numbers of ambulances to clear all the casualties were not in place until after 11am."|
|9.19am||Hussain is seen on Grays Inn Road. Around this time, a man fitting Hussain’s description was seen on the no 91 bus travelling from King’s Cross to Euston Station, looking nervous and pushing past people.
It was almost certainly at Euston that Hussain switched to the no 30 bus travelling eastwards from Marble Arch. The bus was crowded following the closures on the underground. Hussain sat on the upper deck, towards the back. Forensic evidence suggests the bomb was next to him in the aisle or between his feet on the floor. A man fitting Hussain’s description was seen on the lower deck earlier, fiddling repeatedly with his rucksack.
Waterloo & City - Confirm evacuated. [7 July Review Committee Timeline]
|9.24am||The first reports: “British Transport Police say the incident was possibly caused by a collision between two trains, a power cut or a power cable exploding. Police report "walking wounded" (11). Not until after the bus explosion did reports of bombs on the underground start to appear. Camden police arriving at Russell Square found the injured lying on the platform and ‘the train itself was obliterated,’ according to PC Phillippa Mason (12).|
|9.26am||Gold Communication Group leaders – conference call. [7 July Review Committee Timeline]|
|9.28am||Metronet, which is responsible for maintaining the Metropolitan line, says the incident was caused "by some kind of power surge", but the National Grid said there had been no reports of problems. [The Independent]|
Metropolitan Police press office confirm, “This has been declared as a major incident. Too early to state what has happened at this stage”.
|9.30am||The Cabinet Office Briefing Rooms (COBR)2, the Government’s national crisis management facility, is activated in response to the explosions (it was already in place to co-ordinate any response to events in Gleneagles). COBR attended by officials from all the appropriate central Government departments together with the Metropolitan Police Service. Functions round the clock until 15 July.
Seems increasingly likely that this is a terrorist incident.
Visor Consultants were in the process of holding a ‘terror drill’ focussed on the London Underground. Peter Power, Managing Director of Visor Consultants revealed later that day on BBC Radio Five Live and again on the ITV ten o'clock news. The following quote is from the first interview:
POWER: At half past nine this morning we were actually running an exercise for a company of over a thousand people in London based on simultaneous bombs going off precisely at the railway stations where it happened this morning, so I still have the hairs on the back of my neck standing up right now.
|9.31am||Police confirm the closure of Liverpool Street and Aldgate stations, and "walking wounded" at Aldgate. [The Independent]|
|9.33am||London Underground reports a second "incident" at Edgware Road station in northwest London. [The Independent]|
|9.40am||Police say power surge incidents have occurred on Aldgate, Edgware Road, King's Cross, Old Street and Russell Square stations.|
|9:41am||Tube bosses confirm another incident at Edgware Road. [Source: Evening Standard]|
|9.45am||The diverted No. 30 bus stopped - not at a bus stop, but in front of Tavistock House. It did this, so that the driver could ask a couple of parking wardens where he was. Ade Soji, 35, a parking attendant from Dagenham, East London, said he had given directions to the driver of the diverted bus just before it exploded. "The bus stopped and the driver asked me the name of the street," Mr Soji said. "I told him Tavistock Square and he called me over. Just as I was about to go, I heard the bus explode.”|
|9.46am||British Transport Police reports explosions on the Underground at Aldgate, Edgware Road, King's Cross, Old Street and Russell Square. [The Independent]|
|9.47am||The bomb goes off, killing 14 people, including Hussain, and injuring over 110. It remains unclear why the bomb did not go off at 08.50am alongside the others. It may be that Hussain was intending to go north from King’s Cross but was frustrated by delays on the Northern Line. Another possibility, as he seems to have bought a new battery, is that he was unable to detonate his device with the original battery. But we have no further evidence on this at this stage.
A bomb tears the roof off of a diverted number 30 bus, at the junction of Woburn Square and Tavistock Place, splattering blood over the frontage of the British Medical Association’s front door. A ‘van belonging to Kingstar van is photographed near the rear of the bus (Kingstar is a firm specialing in controlled demolition), while top floor passengers are standing about, looking rather unharmed. On the side of the bus, the remains of an advert for The Descent, a horror film that was to be released the following day, proclaims: 'Outright Terror! Bold and Brilliant'.
|9.49am||Metronet says the whole Tube network is being shut down. [The Independent]|
|10.00am||Home Secretary, Charles Clarke, chairs a meeting of COBR.
The number 30 bus driver George Paradakis says he helped wounded people after the blast, and he is then said to have walked West for seven miles in one hour (fast walker?) and “and sought help only once he reached the Central Middlesex Hospital in Acton, West London, at about 10.50am” (16).
|10.02am||Scotland Yard says it is dealing with a "major incident."|
|10.03am||All London Buses withdrawn from Central Area. [7 July Review Committee Timeline]|
|10.09am||Witness Christina Lawrence, who was on a train leaving King's Cross, tells BBC: "There was a loud bang in the tunnel and the train just stopped and all of a sudden it was filled with black, gassy smoke and we couldn't breathe."|
|10.12am||"Quite a large number of casualties" at Aldgate Station, police say.|
|10.14am||Report of a bus ripped apart in an explosion in central London. This is the first real sign of a ‘terrorist attack’.|
|10.20am||Metropolitan police issue the following press release: "At approx 08:50 on 7.7.05 we were called to Aldgate LT station to assist the City of London police and British Transport Police regarding an incident on the underground system. All of the emergency services are on scene. This has been declared as a major incident. Too early to state what has happened at this stage. There have been further reports from multiple locations in London of explosions. It is too early to say what has caused these explosions. Police are responding to reports from: Edgware Rd, Kings Cross, Liverpool St, Russell Sq, Aldgate East and Moorgate underground stations. Furthermore there has been a confirmed explosion on a bus in Tavistock Place."|
|10.23am||Police confirm an explosion on a bus in Tavistock Place. Unable to reach any of the tube bomb-sites, media attention will now focus on Tavistock Square, though no eyewitnesses saw any Muslim bomber (18).|
|10.24am||Scotland Yard confirm explosion on bus at Tavistock Place, near Russell Square. "Union officials say there have been reports of explosions on three buses." [The Telegraph ] [The Scotsman]|
|10.25am||Transport union officials say they have reports of explosions on three buses (19), in Russell Square and in Tavistock Place. Witness Belinda Seabrook said of the Russell Square blast: "I was on the bus in front and heard an incredible bang. I turned round and half the double-decker bus was in the air."|
|10.30am||Two ‘bombers’ are reported to have been shot dead by police at Canary Wharf next to the HSBC tower. Following the shooting, the eight thousand workers in the 44-storey tower were told to stay away from windows and remain in the building for at least six hours (Reuters) (20,21).|
|10.47am||Home Secretary Charles Clarke says multiple London blasts have caused "terrible injuries."|
|10.49am||Police say there are serious casualties, but no deaths are confirmed.|
|10.51am||A passenger on a train at Edgware Road says he saw several bodies in the wreckage. A police spokesman says two trains remained stuck in tunnels at Edgware Road.|
|10.53am||Home Secretary Charles Clarke makes a statement outside Downing Street about "dreadful incidents" causing "terrible injuries". He says Mr Blair has been informed and advises the public not to make unnecessary journeys.|
|10.55am||Home Secretary statement outside Downing Street makes clear that the blasts have caused “terrible casualties” and confirms that public transport has been suspended.|
|11:00am||Metropolitan Police Commissioner in a briefing confirms “The situation has been very confused but is now coming under control”.
Cabinet Office – opens News Co-ordination Centre. [7 July Review Committee Timeline]
|11.15am||European Union commissioner for justice and security affairs Franco Frattini tells reporters in Rome that the blasts in London are terrorist attacks.|
|11.16am||Sir Ian Blair reported to say there had been at least six explosions. [The Independent]|
|11.18am||London's Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair tells the BBC he knows of "about six explosions", one on a bus and the others at train stations.|
|11.26am||The president of the European Parliament, Josep Borrell, blames terrorism for a "co-ordinated series of attacks".|
|11.30am||Signs on major roads into London warn: "Avoid London. Area closed. Turn on radio."|
|11.36am||Sir Ian Blair says there is evidence of explosives at one of the emergency sites.|
|11.38am||(12.38 in Italy) Italian report by interior minister Giuseppe Pisanu, that at least 50 people had died in the London blasts (Until 3 pm the UK media were only alluding to ‘possible deaths’), in Italian news agency ANSA.
Meanwhile, British police confirm two fatalities at Aldgate.
|11:46am||First confirmation of deaths. Police say two killed at Aldgate East. [Source: Evening Standard] Also Sky News ticker [Click for Sky News image]|
|11.56am||The entire public transport system is shut down in London and people are advised to stay at home.|
|12.00pm||The Prime Minister in a statement from Gleneagles says “It is reasonably clear there have been a series of terrorist attacks in London”. G8 leaders add their condemnation.
Mobile phone systems in and around London go dead for four hours. Many reasons for this materialise including sheer weight of traffic and reports that the shutdown was ordered by police. In early December 2005 it was revealed that the shutdown had been called by City of London police, contrary to the agreed procedure. [New Nation, Print Ed., 5th December 2005]
|12.05pm||British Prime Minister Tony Blair says there has been "a series of terrorist attacks in London ... people have died and are seriously injured ... It is reasonably clear this is designed and timed to coincide with the opening [sic - actually it was the second day of three; if the bombings had happened 24-30 hours earlier they would have scuppered London's Olympic bid] of the G8 (summit)". He says he will return to London within hours, and the summit will continue without him.|
|12.10pm||The Prime Minister says it is "reasonably clear" that the explosions were the result of terrorism. [The Independent]. BBC News reported that a website known to be operated by associates of al-Qaeda had been located with a 200-word statement claiming responsibility for the attacks. BBC Monitoring reported that a group named "Secret Organisation — al-Qaeda in Europe" (or, the Group of al-Qaeda of Jihad Organization in Europe ) had posted an announcement claiming responsibility on the al-Qalah ("The Castle") Internet forum. The announcement claims the attacks are a response due to the British involvement in the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan. The letter also warned other governments involved in Iraq (mentioning specifically Denmark and Italy) to withdraw troops from Iraq and Afghanistan. A Saudi commentator in London noted that the statement was grammatically poor, and that a Qur’anic quotation was incorrect (NB, The site, located in Houston, was later found to have connections with the Bush family).|
|12.22pm||Instructions are given for all journalists of 60 weekly newspapers located in London and the South-East belonging to Trinity Mirror Southern titles, to return to their offices and then go home, and then the offices were shut – for safety reasons (22).|
|12.32pm||Italian news agency reports that the "Secret Group of al-Qa'eda's Jihad in Europe", a previously unknown group, has claimed responsibility for the attack.|
|12.51pm||Emergency services personnel tells CNN writer William Chamberlain that all survivors had been evacuated from Kings Cross station, leaving the dead below ground "in the double digits."|
|12.53pm||Britain's Home Secretary Charles Clarke tells the House of Commons there were four explosions in central London and the underground system will be closed all day. They would decide later whether to resume bus services. Earlier, six attacks had been reported.|
|12.55pm||The Home Secretary makes a statement to Parliament. He confirms there have been 4 explosions and where they were located on the London transport network. He says, “As yet we do not know who or which organisation are responsible for those criminal and appalling acts”. Opposition spokesmen and MPs of all parties join him in condemning the attacks, conveying their sympathy to those injured, condolences to those bereaved and expressing support for the country’s emergency services.
Claims of responsibility are posted on the internet. The first within hours, posted by “The Secret Organisation Group of Al Qaida in Europe”, includes warnings to other governments with troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. Investigations have found no evidence to verify this or any subsequent internet claim of responsibility.
|1.10pm||The Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, condemns the “cowardly attack” and confirms that “I have no doubt whatsoever that this is a terrorist attack”.|
|1.33pm||Blair departs from Gleneagles, returning to London.|
|1.40pm||By 14.20 Italian time, there was a debate on Italian state radio (RAI) about Pisanu's comments (see 11.38am), and why the 50 deaths were not being confirmed or denied in Britain (23).|
|2.38pm||U.S. law enforcement sources say the British government has said that at least 40 people have been killed. London hospitals report at least 300 wounded, the Associated Press reports.|
|2:22pm||FBI sources confirm at least 40 dead in London. [Source: Evening Standard]|
|3.26pm||Brian Paddick, Deputy Assistant Commissioner of London police, says police had no warning of the attacks and have not received any claims of responsibility. He says police are keeping an open mind over who carried out the attacks and that it is unclear whether a claim of responsibility by al Qaeda is genuine or whether suicide bombers were involved. No arrests have been made in connection with the attacks.|
|3.41pm||Assistant chief ambulance officer Russell Smith says the service has treated 45 patients with serious or critical injuries, and a further 300 patients for minor injuries.|
|4.32pm||Transport authorities say Docklands Light Railway services in east London and mainline rail services have resumed, except out of King's Cross and Victoria stations. Buses in central London are also returning to service. All underground services remain suspended.|
|4.35pm||The Union Flag flying over Buckingham Palace is lowered to half mast, at the Queen's request, in a mark of respect for the dead and injured.|
|4:51pm||BBC News 24 still reporting 7 explosions across London with blast locations listed as per the Metropolitan Police press release earlier in the day [Ref: 10:20am]|
|5.30pm||The Prime Minister who had returned to London from the G8 meeting and had gone straight into a meeting of COBR, makes a public statement where he promises the “most intense police and Security Service action to make sure we bring those responsible to justice.|
After chairing a London meeting of the government’s Emergency Committee ‘COBRA’ at Downing Street, Tony Blair made his first public statement, in which he averred of the bombers: ‘We know that these people act in the name of Islam.’ He stated that Britain would not be intimidated by terrorism and promised intense police and security services action to bring those behind the bombings to justice.
The United Nations Security Council passes a resolution condemning the London attacks and expressing "outrage and indignation at today's appalling terrorist attacks against the people of the United Kingdom that cost human life and caused injuries and immense human suffering."
|5.50pm||UN Security Council unanimously adopts a resolution condemning“without reservation” the attacks.|
|6.13pm||The BBC reports the number of people confirmed dead in the London bomb attacks has risen to 37, Deputy Assistant Police Commissioner Brian Paddick says. Twenty-one were killed at Kings Cross/Russell Square, seven died at Edgware Road, seven died at Liverpool Street and two died on the bus at Upper Woburn Place. A further 700 were injured, 300 of whom were taken to various London hospitals by ambulance.|
|7.30pm||Sky News carries a Reuters report of a French government minister saying there were 50 dead in the London bombings and claiming the home secretary, Charles Clarke, as their source.|
|7.39pm||Jack Straw, Foreign Secretary, says attacks bear the hallmarks of al-Qa'eda.|
|9.50pm||The BBC News website ran a story that 37 had died.|
|10.19pm||Amongst the many thousands of calls to the emergency Casualty Bureau, record of a call to the police emergency hotline from Hasib Hussain’s family, reporting him missing.|
|11.40pm||Police exhibits officer telephones into the investigators to say that along with many other personal items, cash and membership cards in the name of “Sidique Khan” and “Mr S Tanweer” had been found at Aldgate. Investigation begins into the identity of these and other names including through financial records. The Queen, on learning the news on 7 July issues an immediate statement expressing the nation’s sense of deep shock. Subsequently, The Queen and other members of the Royal Family move quickly to meet many of those affected by the bombings an the personnel who responded to them at hospitals, police stations and other coordination centres. During a visit to the Royal London Hospital, and after meeting victims of the attacks, The Queen speaks of the nation’s “sympathy to those who have been caught up in these events and above all to the relatives and friends of those who have lost their lives” and admiration for members of the emergency services and Transport for London. “Those who perpetrate these brutal acts against innocent people should know that they will not change our way of life”.|
Post July 7th
Note: Timeline entries from the official Home Office report, are shown in blue text.
|8th July 2005||As the investigation continues at the sites, the priority is preservation of life and dealing with those injured. The second objective is to obtain evidence. At 23.59, Khan identified as the account holder for a credit card found at a second scene, Edgware Road.
Sir Ian Blair, Head of the Metropolitan Police, said no evidence suggested that the attacks involved suicide bombers, but officials hadn't ruled out the possibility. Ian Blair curiously alluded to the number of bombers: 'If London can survive the Blitz it can survive four miserable bombers,' but then hastily added 'I am not saying there were four bombers', words then edited out of subsequent news reports (24). The concept of four suicide bombers was not published until the 12th. The BBC News website ran a story at 12.30 UK time quoting Sir Ian Blair that the death toll would reach at least 50. Later that day, British media came to admit 52 deaths from the bombings, as reported yesterday by Italian (& other nations’) media.
The New York times reported that timers had detonated the tube explosions, and CNN cited US law enforcement sources as saying investigators had found fragments of timing devices that might have been used in the three train blasts, but that no such fragments had been found in the bus explosion (25). One of the sources for this information was Vincent Cannistraro, the former head of the CIA's counter-terrorism centre (26) Elsewhere it is reported, however, that no timing devices have been found (27).
In Beeston, Leeds, a letter arrives for 18-year old Hasib Hussain, informing him that his exam results have been successful, and that he now had a place at the Leeds business college. He would never open that letter.
|9th July 2005||Police searching for clues at the bomb sites find items linked to Tanweer and further items linked to Khan. Significantly, items traceable to Khan have now been found at 2 of the scenes – Aldgate and Edgware Road. In reviewing records, it is also found that Khan has previously been picked up on the periphery of another investigation. Tanweer’s link to this investigation was identified later. The nature of these links is covered by the Intelligence and Security Committee’s report.
Inevitably in an investigation of this scale, many avenues are pursued, to eliminate those not involved from the inquiry. One initial strand concerned 3 British citizens from West Yorkshire who arrived at Toronto Airport, Canada, on a flight from Manchester, which left around mid-day on 7 July. The group arrived back in the UK on 9 July and were released without charge on 10 July. The press reported later that a known extremist figure and possible mastermind left the UK shortly before the bombings. There is no evidence that this individual was involved.
There was also interest in another individual who was linked to 18 Alexandra Grove (see paragraph 58). Police reveal that, contrary to earlier reports, the bombs on the underground had not occurred over a 30-minute period and confirmed the three devices detonated within moments of each other (28). It is alleged that “confused tube staff took nearly 30 minutes to tell police there had been explosions on the underground”.
It was disclosed that all four CCTV cameras on the 30 bus were not working: one senior Yard source said: “It's a big blow and a disappointment.” The Guardian finally published an abbreviated, chopped-up version of Mark Honigsbaum’s report, from the 7th. Their journalist Honigsbaum spent all morning outside Edgware Road tube helping traumatised and wounded passengers and recording their stories. Their narratives involved what sounded like a bomb under the floor of the carriage, and of a blast lifting a coach off the rails, so that it in some degree collided with an oncoming train; these could not be gathered from what the Guardian published, but his audio report remains (29).
|10 July 2005||Despite the attacks, in London thousands of people, including a great number of veterans, turn out and gather in the Mall for Commemoration Day, marking 60 years since the end of World War II.
Driving licence and other identifying documents in the name of Hussain found at Tavistock Square. Link made between these and the missing person report. Police enquiries reveal that Hussain had travelled to London with Khan and Tanweer
An alleged mastermind is revealed: “Mustafa Setmarian Nasar- also known as Abu Musab al-Suri - a Syrian suspected of being Al Qaeda's operations chief in Europe, according to unidentified investigators cited in British newspapers The Sunday Times, The Sunday Telegraph and the Mail on Sunday. Nasar, 47, allegedly played a key role in setting up an Al Qaeda structure in Spain and was indicted there in connection with the Sept. 11 attacks. There turned out to be a problem with his arrest however, because he was already in prison, in Spain.
Christophe Chaboud, France's new antiterrorism coordinator, states that he knew ‘the nature of the explosive’ in the London bombings: It ‘'appears to be military, which is very worrisome,’' he said, adding: ‘'We're more used to cells making homemade explosives from chemical substances’ (Le Monde, 11th July) (30).
The whole of central Birmingham is evacuated due to a bomb threat, with local residents having to spend the night away from their homes, but nothing resembling the threat ever materialises.
|11 July 2005||The Prime Minister updates Parliament on the investigation. He says “7 July will always be remembered as a day of terrible sadness for our country and for London. Yet it is true that, just four days later, London’s buses, trains and as much of its underground as possible are back on normal schedules; its businesses, shops and schools are open; its millions of people are coming to work with a steely determination that is genuinely remarkable”. Further information provides a possible link between Hussain and 18 Alexandra Grove.
Blair, in his first report to the Commons, rules out an official inquiry.
European counter-terrorism experts said that the bombs were ‘technically advanced’ and had used military-grade explosives (31).
At 8 p.m. the police, sifting through CCTV camera footage, allegedly see their first pictures of the ‘four,’ at King’s Cross Thameslink station at 8.26 or 8.30 am.
These pictures are never made public, nor will any independent witnesses testify to their existence.
|12 July 2005||In the early morning, the police search premises in the West Yorkshire area, including the homes of Khan, Tanweer and Hussain and 18 Alexandra Grove.
Report received that 4 people by two vehicles were seen putting on rucksacks at Luton Station car park. One of the vehicles was now missing but one remained in the car park.
By lunchtime, police working on the theory that there is a King’s Cross link to the 3 train bombs, all being broadly equidistant from there at the time of the explosions, identify a CCTV image of 4 men with rucksacks at King’s Cross. They recognise Tanweer first from a DVLA photograph.
The police identify CCTV images of the same 4 at Luton Station. The Micra is found at Luton and examined. 9 controlled explosions were carried out on material found in it. The Brava, which had been towed away because it did not have a parking ticket is later traced to Lindsay. There had been a report on the Police National Computer that the Brava may have been used in an aggravated burglary (see paragraph 69) and Lindsay was named as the registered keeper for the car.
There was at the time of the attacks, reports of a “5th bomber”. It was thought, because of witness statements and CCTV, that there was a “5th man” with the group travelling down from Luton. Inquiries showed the individual was a regular commuter and he was eliminated from the inquiry. Also in the period immediately following the attacks, one man was arrested in connection with the investigation but he was released without charge. In subsequent weeks, a further man who had claimed to be the “5th bomber” was also arrested and later charged with wasting police time. There is no intelligence to indicate that there was a fifth or further bombers.
Altogether five bodies are identified, four of which just happened to be the ‘suicide bombers’. No DNA tests were necessary to identify them, because the suspected bombers all happened to be carrying personal documents (source: Boston Herald) , which survived the bomb blasts. On another story, the alleged bomber Tanweer was identified by “strong forensic evidence”, despite the fact that only one victim had then been identified from all four blasts.
That evening, police raided six properties in the Leeds area: two houses in Beeston, two in Thornhill, one in Holbeck and one in Alexandra Grove, Burley. One man was arrested. West Yorkshire police stated that a significant amount of explosive material was found in the raids and a ‘controlled explosion’ was carried out at one of the properties. The Headingley area (next to Beeston) was cordoned off and hundreds of its inhabitants were herded into the Kirkstall leisure Centre, and not allowed home for three days and nights (LookNorth News). Luton railway station was sealed off from the public and ‘controlled explosions’ were also performed there. Explosives were reportedly found in a car parked there, hired from Luton. For their final, 240-mile nocturnal drive, had three tall lads from Leeds with big rucksacks somehow squeezed into one of the smallest cars available, a ‘Nissan Micro’? Had they also stashed home-made nail bombs etc into the car, for no discernable purpose? Whether this hired car was destroyed by the ‘controlled explosions’ remained unclear. A second car from Aylesbury may have been towed off on July 7th.
|13 July 2005||Jermaine Lindsay’s wife informs police that he is missing
Police search Lindsay’s home in Aylesbury. Two days after police search Lindsay's house, they find his property at Russell Square.
European Union Ministers assemble for an Emergency Justice and Home Affairs Council and agree a plan of action for EU anti-terrorist co-operation.
Traces of the military explosive ‘C4’ were found at all four blast sites, The Times reported. ‘C4,’ manufactured mostly in the United States, is very deadly and efficient - easy to hide, stable, and often missed by traditional bomb-sniffing detection systems. (United Press International)]
|14 July 2005||Property belonging to Khan found at a third scene, Tavistock Square.
Police publicly confirm the identity of Tanweer and Hussain.
Police release a picture of a young man with a rucksack, said to be Hasib Hussain and to have been taken at 07.20 at Luton train station.
A new ‘mastermind’ was arrested in Cairo, having a similar name to the previous one, who turned out to be in jail. “British police have identified the man thought to be the mastermind behind last week's bombings in London,” namely Magdi El-Nashar. On 7/7 he was holidaying in Cairo, having left his belongings at home in Leeds as he planned to return home soon. Friends of his questioned could not recall any ‘fundamentalist’ tendency in him. As a biochemist at Leeds, he had just gained his PhD that May. Dr el-Nasher knew Jermaine Lindsay and let him move into a flat he rented, and was introduced to Jamal's friend Hasib Hussain.
|15 July 2005||Property belonging to Lindsay found at Russell Square. The property at Russell Square is found two days after police searched Lindsay's house.|
|16 July 2005||The police publicly confirm the names of Khan and Lindsay.
Sun headline, ‘Prove it’: Pregnant Samantha Lewthwaite, 22, refused to accept that Jamaican-born Lindsay Jamal, father of her child, was the fourth London bomber. She sobbed, ‘He wasn’t the sort of person who’d do this. I won’t believe it until I see proof’.
|17 July 2005||Photo released of the 4 ‘bombers’ Mohammad Sidique Khan, 30, Germaine Lindsay, 19, Hasib Hussain, 18, and Shahzad Tanweer, 22, were pictured in Luton at 07.22.54 BST on Thursday 7 July.” (32)|
|19 July 2005||Scotland Yard still has no clue as to what explosives were used, declared the Metropolitan police commissioner, Sir Ian Blair, despite traces of explosives having been found in Leeds in a bathtub, in rented cars, etc. (33).
The Egyptian government affirms that Magdi El-Nashar, arrested by the Egyptian police at the request of Britain five days ago, has no link to the London bombings.
21 July 2005
|Ministers begin to consider the emerging lessons learned at a Cabinet level meeting, chaired by the Home Secretary. These lessons fell mainly into the following categories:
27 July 2005
Twelve bombs are now reported as having been found in the rented car, and not 9 as earlier (35). The train station is closed and the public are removed, as ‘controlled explosions’ are let off by the police, as a bomb-disposal procedure. Was this the red Fiat car left by Germaine Linsey from Aylesbury? Stories about the two cars keep changing, with one towed away on July 7th and the other detonated on the 12th. Media pictures are released showing a ’nail bomb’ with nails stuck onto outside of a glass bottle, with conjectures that these were intended for some other purpose: ‘16 bombs were found in the red Nissan car parked at Luton railway station. It is believed the car was rented in Leeds by Shehzad Tanweer’, according to The Times (36): were they packed on the roof of this tiny Nissan Micra, as three tall men plus rucksacks crammed inside it to drive down from Leeds?
3 September 2005
The Video of Khan speaking as an ‘al-Qaeda’ agent was broadcast on Al-Jazeera TV station. None of Khan’s family have as yet been heard to comment upon it (his Father Tika Khan in Nottingham, wife Hasina Patel, mother-in-law Farida Patel, or even Sarah Trickett, head of primary school where he taught.), however locals who had known Khan seem not to have regarded it as genuine (36). It was him and his voice, however the speech did not match with his lip movements.
20 September 2005
Release of CCTV images of three of the four ‘bombers’ on a day-trip to London at both Luton and King’s Cross (lacking Hasib Hussein). These are genuine images, taken at 3-second intervals. The blurred, Photoshopped image presented as from Luton on July 7th may have come from this sequence, as Germaine Lindsey is in both cases shown carrying a white plastic bag and wearing a black baseball cap, while Khan wears a white baseball cap on both occasions.
18 December 2005
An interview with traumatised policewoman Lizzie Kenworthy recalled the worst moment in her life, as she stepped through the mangled door of the Circle line tube at Aldgate that morning: she saw ‘a big hole in the floor’ and screaming passengers who had lost their legs. One woman was ‘trapped in the metal, which had twisted up through the middle of the carriage.’ (38)
- Mike Ruppert, ‘Crossing the Rubicon’, 2004 Canada, Ch. 22
- http://www.team8plus.org/forum_viewtopic.php?9.366.20, www.met.police.uk/job/job951/live_files/2.htm, http://observer.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,6903,1525247,00.html
- Ham & High / Hampstead & Highgate Express, 17 February, p.4.
- Ham & High, ref. 12.