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7th July 2005: the date of terrorist bomb attacks on the public transport system in central London
'From emptied subway systems to deserted parliaments and shopping malls, the countries of central and south-eastern Europe have been edgy and anxious since 7/7 …'The Guardian 28th July 2005
'The anniversary has brought renewed calls for a public inquiry into the bombings from some survivors and relatives of the victims … "We need to know what led to 7/7, we need to know the real reasons behind 7/7 and other such atrocities that seem to occur on an almost daily basis the world over" …'The Guardian 7th July 2006
At midday on Friday 7th July 2006, people across the United Kingdom respected a two-minute silence as a memorial to the victims of 7/7, a series of terrorist attacks occurring exactly a year earlier in central London.
the bombings claimed the lives of 52 people … the expression 7/7 quickly became a universally-understood reference to these tragic events
On Thursday 7th July 2005, the day after London had been chosen to host the 2012 Olympics and the first full day of the G8 summit, a series of four bomb attacks struck London's public transport system during the morning rush hour. The deadliest bombing in London since the Second World War, within just a few hours this horrific event was being referred to by the world's media as 7/7.
7/7 consisted of four bomb explosions, three on the London underground and one on a bus in Tavistock Square. The bombings claimed the lives of 52 people, and the four suspected bombers, and 800 others were injured. The expression 7/7 quickly became a universally-understood reference to these tragic events, commonly occurring as a noun modifier as in 7/7 attacks/bombings.
In September 2005, after a series of controversial claims about who had caused the 7/7 bombings, the Islamic fundamentalist paramilitary organisation al-Qaeda allegedly claimed responsibility for the attacks in a video statement made by one of the bombers. However the statement's authenticity and a definite connection to al-Qaeda have still not been independently verified.
Use of the term 7/7 to refer to the bombings on July 7th 2005 is modelled on the term 9/11, a universally-understood representation of the tragic events of September 11th 2001, when four commercial airliners were hijacked by terrorists in the United States. Two of the planes crashed into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York, and another hit the Pentagon, with more than 3000 people losing their lives. Voted Word of the Year in 2001 by the American Dialect Society, 9/11 entered the US and international lexicon practically overnight, immediately understood even in Canada, Australia and Britain, where 9/11 conventionally means November 9th, rather than September 11th.
The date/month ambiguity in 7/7 means that there is no such potential confusion. However, the subsequent bombings which occurred in London on 21st July 2005, but did not cause injury or fatalities, have been referred to by the world's media as both 21/7 and 7/21, reflecting date conventions on both sides of the Atlantic.
This article was first published on 10th July 2006.
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