A Summary and Analysis of the July 2005 Terrorist Attacks

By Randy Taylor, Senior Analyst & Electronics Surveillance Specialist

22 August 2005: “What was formerly referred to as al Qaeda, ‘The Base,’ has now mushroomed into an ideology and a worldwide movement encompassing multiple radical Islamic groups, franchise groups all driven by Islamic doctrine of domination throughout the world.”


July 7, 2005: Terrorists set off four explosive devices scattered throughout London transit systems resulting in 52 conformed deaths and injuring over 700 people. Bombers were suicide bombers willing to die for their “cause,” which they did.

July 21, 2005: Terrorists deployed four explosive devices around London, once again at various points in London’s transit systems. The devices, however, did not detonate. A fifth explosive device was found later in a rucksack abandoned in bushes at Little Wormwood Scrubs two days after the failed attacks. The terrorist bombers were caught on film, failed to detonate their packages and obviously were not willing to die for their cause.

July 23, 2005: Terrorists attack targets in the Egyptian resort of Sharm al-Sheik through use of explosives, deployed in mostly by vehicles with a total of five confirmed explosions. The attacks result in 88 confirmed dead and over 200 people injured. Once again, the terrorists were willing to die for their “cause.

Responsibility and claims for the attacks

July 7th attacks: Almost immediately a written statement is placed on a well known and well visited jihad terrorist forum claiming responsibility for the attacks. The following day, a film is put out over the internet in which responsibility for the attacks is directly assigned to al Qaeda. The film is based on some scenes captured through the use of a cell phone camera during the attacks; where the photos have logo branding by a website specializing in death and gore, the branding was done the previous day. There are additional photos of the carnage and throughout the film, statements by al Qaeda (or one of their offspring) are read aloud in Arabic, and many written Arabic statements by al Qaeda appear toward the end of the film. In addition, later on the 8th just before midnight EST, there is an additional film produced and distributed by Global Islamic Media Front showing a couple of still photos from the attack along with the typical terrorist rhetoric indicating a relationship to the attack.

The attack was successful and bore all the hallmarks of a well organized and well executed attack with good logistical support and planning. Overall, the attack bore all the trademarks of a well executed terrorist attack by the designed and financed by the leaders of al Qaeda.

July 21st attacks: Once again, a written statement in Arabic is released on a terrorist jihad website claiming credit for the attempted and failed attacks, although the authenticity of the claim is in question. The key factor in the aftermath of this attack is there is no film by any group publicly released claiming responsibility or even referencing the attack in a verifiable manner.

The attack itself was poorly directed, poorly planned and poorly executed which is not a trademark of an attack planned directly by al Qaeda leaders; when compared to the previous attack on July 7th, it does not bear the same modus operandi as the July 7th attacks except for the explosives being placed at various transit points within London. The primary point of interest is that the terrorist were not willing to die and they entirely failed in their mission.

July 23 attacks: Again, a statement is released on a terrorist website from a group claiming to be the al Qaeda Organization in the Levant and Egypt and they claim responsibility for the attacks in Egypt. A film is released within 48 hours on the internet only vaguely claiming any responsibility for the bombings in Egypt. However, the film is in exactly the same type of format as the first film that covered the July 7th London bombings, and was much more specific regarding the claim of responsibility.

The attack was extremely successful, well executed and bore the professional hallmarks of an operation orchestrated and executed by the upper echelon of al Qaeda leadership.

Summary Analysis

The attacks on the 7th of July in London and the attacks on the 23rd of July in Egypt were most likely planned and executed by the leaders of al Qaeda or management operating under their specific direction. The attacks in London on the 21st of July were not designed or executed by the same well-organized people.

When you set aside all the evidence such as types of explosives, origins of the perpetrators (which is essentially insignificant compared to the methods of operation), we are left with two key factors that allow us to see the differences in one of the three events. The July 21st bombers failed to detonate their explosives

The July 21st bombers were not willing to die.

The July 21st bombers were most likely known to the July 7th bombers simply by association through a mosque. The second group most likely admired what their predecessors had done on the 7th and seized an opportunity to do the same on the 21st but didn’t have the knowledge, financing, expertise, nor did they have the dedication to execute a successful operation. They were terrorist “wanna-be’s” that actually embarrassed the al Qaeda “cause.” The leaders of al Qaeda are most likely displeased by the July 21st bomber’s actions and are probably very upset with them since their massive failure that day led to multiple arrests and huge successes by law enforcement in shutting down bomb producing locations.

The failure has probably interrupted the preparations of future attacks and has given authorities a goldmine of information that will help disrupt the general operation of the terrorist organization. Yet another clue suggesting disassociation is the film by Ayman al Zawahiri that was broadcast on al Jazeera earlier this month. That film was most likely produced very shortly after the 7th yet long before the 21st since there is no mention of the death of King Fahd of Saudi Arabia. If the failed attack of the 21st was to be part of an attack designed by the leaders of al Qaeda, Zawahiri’s message would have been filmed prior to the 21st (which it most likely was) and it would have been released prior to the 21st, to give al Zawahiri’s warnings of additional attacks on the UK credibility.

In reality, the leaders of al Qaeda most likely had no idea that a rogue franchise cell was going into action on the 21st of July.

In reality, however, all three attacks were al Qaeda in nature. It is important for people to realize and accept that al Qaeda is no longer simply a group of terrorists residing in Afghanistan who hate the United States and her allies. What was formerly referred to as al Qaeda, “The Base,” has now mushroomed into an ideology and a worldwide movement encompassing multiple radical Islamic groups, franchise groups all driven by Islamic doctrine of domination throughout the world. In this aspect, they are all al Qaeda operations. The original concept of al Qaeda has flourished and grown in a way that Osama bin Laden could only have dreamed about at the inception of the original Jihad against the west.

Osama bin Laden was successful in creating a terrorist entity that transformed into a world wide movement whose sole purpose is the perpetuation of global Islamic domination that will never lack in followers to carry out their deadly mission.