On Thursday, July 7, 2005 - one day after London won the bid to host the 2012 Olympic Games, and the first day of the UK-hosted G8 summit - four suicide bombers detonated explosives in three locations in the central London subway network and on a bus, killing 52 people, and injuring more than 770.
The attacks began at 8:50 a.m. British Standard Time (BST), just as rush hour was coming to a close, with the final explosion taking place on a double-decker bus about one hour later. The bombers were later identified as British-born Islamist extremists.
The attack, the largest and deadliest the country had experienced since World War II, represented the first instance of British born and bred suicide bombers. It was also the first suicide bombing in Western Europe.
The Attacks: Four Explosions
The first three underground explosions occurred within fifty seconds of each other, beginning at 8:50 a.m. BST. The fourth explosion was detonated approximately one hour later, in Tavistock Square. The attacks killed 52 people, and injured more than 770.
At 8:50 a.m., a bomb exploded on an eastbound Circle Line train packed with commuters, between Liverpool Street and Aldgate stations. The explosive detonated at the rear of the second carriage, killing seven and injuring 171 people.The bomber, who also died, was later identified as Shehzad Tanweer, 22, from Leeds, West Yorkshire, England.
Simultaneously, an explosion was set off in the second carriage of a westbound Circle Line train at Edgware Road, killing six and injuring another 163 people. The bomber, who also died, was later identified as Mohammad Sidique Khan, 30, from Dewsbury, England.
King’s Cross - Russell Square
Seconds later, a third bomb exploded in the rear of the first carriage of a crowded Piccadilly Line train traveling from King’s Cross to Russell Square. The blast killed 26 people and injured more than 340.
The bomber, who also died, was later identified as Germaine Lindsay, 19, from Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, England.
Nearly one hour after the three underground explosions, at 9:47 a.m., the final explosion ripped through the upper level of the No. 30 double-decker bus on Upper Woburn Place in Tavistock Square. The bomb, located near the back of the bus, killed 13 and injured more than 110 people. The explosion launched the roof of the bus into the air, and destroyed the rear of the vehicle.
Due to street closures resulting from that morning’s explosion at Russell Square, the bus was using an alternate route through Tavistock Square. Many who had evacuated the Underground had crowded onto public surface transit as an alternative.
The bomber, who also died, was later identified as Hasib Hussain, 18, from Leeds, Yorkshire, England.
Initial reports suggested that the tragedy had been caused by a power surge in the underground power grid, but within hours of the explosions, Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair stated that evidence at the blast sites pointed to a terrorist attack.
“This was not a terrorist attack against the mighty and the powerful. It was not aimed at Presidents or Prime Ministers. It was aimed at ordinary, working-class Londoners, black and white, Muslim and Christian, Hindu and Jew, young and old. It was an indiscriminate attempt to slaughter, irrespective of any considerations for age, for class, for religion, or whatever.”
London Mayor Ken Livingstone, Mayor’s Statement, 7 July 2005