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E-Pao! EI - 7 July Multiple Bomb Attacks in London : An Analysis

7 July Multiple Bomb Attacks in London : An Analysis

By:- Binalakshmi Nepram *



King's Cross in London, the site of one of the four bomb blast which claimed the highest casualties on thursday, July 7 is one of London's busiest underground stations. Many a times, I have during my stay in London taken the "tube" ( which is the word for underground trains in UK) to get the train to Bradford to visit friends and collegues in Bradford.

The station is just a stop away from old street station, where my former office Saferworld is located. Many a times I have walked from the underground at King's Cross to cross over to the main train station where I with thousands of other commuters would wait for our trains which would take us to various destinations in UK.

London is full of people of all races, religion and creed, a place I so marvelled because it is a place where every single face that you meet reminds you of a land, a unique area that they have come from. So yesterday, when news of the deaths reached me, I could imagine what chaos and pain that people especially areas that have been hit might have gone through.

Everytime I use to travel on London underground in the last two years, I have always felt fear. The reasons of my fear were many : First, I always knew that London will be a possible target for such terrorist attack as UK has always been vocal in its support to US on the war in Iraq ever since September 11 attacks occured.

In fact, in February 2005, when I was taking the tube from Victoria Cross Station at 7 am to get on to the Picadelly line to reach Heathrow Airport, my eyes fell on a suitcase which did not seem to belong to any one of the three passengers who were in the same coach station as I was in .

Londeners are always known to be reserved, especially in tube stations, where you will see 99.9 percent of them either reading novels or newspapers or a city tabloid which are distributed free for many of the tube travellers. Unlike, Canada where strangers always greet each other with a friendly "Hi", if you say the same harmless greeting to a Londener, you are sure to be greeted with a "Are you mad?" kind of a stare.

So in that early morning tube ride, I mustered up courage to ask the three fellow passengers if the suitcase belonged to one of them. They appeared surprised at my question, shrugged their shoulders and stayed quiet as before.

Having also lived in New Delhi where bomb blasts in public places and transport are a constant reality, I immediately moved out of the coach when the next stop came and in fact thought of even reporting about that suitcase but I could not find any police man or women that morning and I had to rush to Heathrow for my flight.

No blasts took place that morning but I am sure that it must be one of those suitcases like things left in several coaches of the tubes that led to the horrifying multiple bomb blasts in the morning of June 7 in London.

Secondly, London is a city which is full of people on the move, especially in mornings when people are going to work, and evenings when people are returning from work. Many of the people depend on public transport for commuting.

Many a times, seeing the multitude of people of various races , colour and different cultural background of people walking in their office suites, I used to wonder if the entire world have congregated here. London is a city that can be paralysed completely without its public transport , especially the underground tubes, which were the targets of June 7 bomb attacks.

An attack thus on the tubes during the rush hour, which is almost packed with people was intended to give maximum damage. Almost all London undergrounds have cameras which document every step that commuters make.

I am very sure that those cameras would detect the face of the terrorists who have committed these attacks. It is only a matter of time. London is fitted with cameras even on the streets and it was this constant vigilance which gave me a sense of security whenever I use to commute in London.

But this sense of security has been shaken up due to the July 7 attack.

London is one of the world's most powerful and most sought after cities. So what was it that led one of the most powerful countries to be attacked in a way that left them stunned and shocked. Any security analyst would tell you that one had to stay guard all hours, all day in such major world city as London after the September 11 terrorist attacks and the continued insurgent attacks in Iraq.

On the day of the attack, the BBC located an Islamist website that had published a 200-word statement issued by an organisation saying it carried out the London bombings. The organisation called itself the Secret Organisation Group of al-Qaeda [literally the base] of Jihad Organisation in Europe :

In the name of God, the merciful, the compassionate, may peace be upon the cheerful one and undaunted fighter, Prophet Muhammad, God's peace be upon him.

Nation of Islam and Arab nation : Rejoice for it is time to take revenge against the British Zionist Crusader government in retaliation for the massacres Britain is committing in Iraq and Afghanistan. The heroic mujahideen have carried out a blessed raid in London. Britain is now burning with fear, terror and panic in its northern, southern, eastern, and western quarters. We have repeatedly warned the British Government and people.

We have fulfilled our promise and carried out our blessed military raid in Britain after our mujahideen exerted strenuous efforts over a long period of time to ensure the success of the raid. We continue to warn the governments of Denmark and Italy and all the Crusader governments that they will be punished in the same way if they do not withdraw their troops from Iraq and Afghanistan. He who warns is excused.

God says: "You who believe: If ye will aid (the cause of) Allah, He will aid you, and plant your feet firmly."

It was in August 2004 when the first indication that pro-Al Qaeda terrorist elements were planning a major terrorist strike in London came after the arrest in Lahore by the Pakistani authorities of one Mohammad Naeem Noor Khan, a Pakistani computer expert, who used to live partly in London and partly in Pakistan.

According to B.Raman, "Noor Khan was working for the Al Qaeda as a communications expert and that he used to trasmit all messages from Osama bin Laden and other Al Qaeda leaders in a coded form to the Al Qaeda cadres in different countries. He also reportedly told the Pakistani authorities that the Al Qaeda had planned a terrorist strike at Heathrow airport in London".

After the March 2004 Madrid blasts, investigations made by the intelligence and security agencies of West Europe revealed that the Al Qaeda had a large number of supporters in the Muslim diaspora of West Europe. In its annual report on the action against terrorism in Europe, the EU had also drawn attention to this fact.

Morrocans and Pakistanis constituted the largest number of terrorist suspects arrested and questioned in West Europe last year. About 70 Muslims from the UK, many of them of Pakistani origin, were estimated to have gone to Iraq last year and joined the local Al Qaeda unit headed by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

Whatever the reason of the attacks, the fact that about 50 innocent civilians lives have been lost and about 700 injured is a painful reality.

It is a sad reminder of how civilians continue to be target of any kind of violent armed political violence that takes place anywhere in the world whether it is Manipur, Beslan, New York, Madrid or London.




Bina Nepram is the author of the book "Meckhley" and formerly work as a research scholar with saferworld, based in UK.
She writes this article from the German Capital City of Berlin, on 8 July 2005
This article was sent courtesy of Thoiba Meetei Thoudam.
He can be reached at [email protected]

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