Wednesday, September 26

You run, mine are all grown up

You know that Islamist terrorists tried to bomb in London in 2007? Here is the news story from BBC. I quote:


A car bomb planted in central London would have caused "carnage" if it had exploded, police say. A controlled explosion was carried out on the car, packed with 60 litres of petrol, gas cylinders and nails, in Haymarket, near Piccadilly Circus. An ambulance crew saw smoke coming from the green Mercedes, near the Tiger Tiger nightclub at 0130 BST (0030 GMT).

Reading on:

One report claimed that a quick-thinking officer disconnected the mobile phone before bomb squad officers arrived.

You as well I would have read that statement and moved on, with perhaps a quirk of the eyebrows praising the officer. But here’s something that I read recently about this officer.

It is pretty rare for a terrorist to attempt to detonate a car bomb with a mobile phone in an urban area. It is common to use a mobile device in the deserts of Afghanistan or Iraq, but in a city there is just too much risk of someone dialing a wrong number and triggering the device prematurely by accident. But on 29th June 2007, Mohammed Haneef and Kafeel Ahmed attempted to detonate two large car bombs in London using a mobile phone. They had placed two devices, the first outside Tiger Tiger night club. The second was placed a few hundred meters away, at exactly the point where the police would have set up their control post to deal with the first bomb. Both cars contained around 60 litres of petrol, gas cylinders, nails and a mobile phone connected to a detonator. Their intentions were clear.

The police are often criticised for spending too much time worrying about traffic offences. Actually, it is part of their anti-terrorist activity. Car bombs are judged a threat and hence investigating and removing suspiciously parked vehicles is a priority for the police. I don't know the exact circumstances, but thankfully the second car bomb was removed for being illegally parked and placed in the underground car pound in Park Lane. Being underground, it was out of mobile phone coverage and inadvertently rendered useless. However, the first bomb was still live and posed a very material threat to the people in and around Tiger Tiger that night.

An ambulance crew called to Tiger Tiger at around 1.30am noticed a car suspiciously parked outside and radioed it into the police. The police reacted by deploying a foot patrol consisting of two officers to investigate. They walked around and inspected the car. Inside they could see the gas canisters, wiring and even the mobile phone on the end of the wires. It was clear that this was a bomb that could kill many people; it was primed and ready to explode. At that moment, one of the officers turned to the other - his junior - and uttered a line which puts goose bumps on my arms:

"You run - mine are all grown up."

As his colleague ran, the remaining officer attempted to defuse the device. He could see that the mobile phone was the trigger so he ripped it out of the wiring and started running down the road with it in his hands. As he ran down the street, with the phone in his hands, it rang.

As a result of the sharp eyes of the ambulance crew and the extreme bravery of the police officers, it is unquestionable that many lives were saved. The next day, Mohammed Haneef and Kafeel Ahmed drove a vehicle into the front of Glasgow airport and set fire to it, killing Ahmed in the process. Haneef was arrested and no one else was hurt. It was in part from the mobile phone records that the police were able to link the Glasgow attack to the attempted Tiger Tiger bombing and trace the movements of the two suspects.

You run, mine are all grown up.

Salutations on quiet understated bravery to you. Compare a man who was willing to give up his life to save others while these apologies for humankinds wanted to take lives. And were useless and incompetent to boot. Bah, spits on them.

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