Mohammad Sidique Khan

Mohammad Sidique Khan was the British-born mastermind of the coordinated London bombings on July 7, 2005, known colloquially as the 7/7 bombings.Sandra Laville and Dilpazier Aslam, “Mentor to the young and vulnerable,” Guardian (London), July 14, 2005, https://www.theguardian.com/uk/2005/jul/14/july7.uksecurity5;
“July 7 2005 London Bombings Fast Facts,” CNN, June 29, 2016, http://www.cnn.com/2013/11/06/world/europe/july-7-2005-london-bombings-fast-facts/.
Khan himself was one of four suicide bombers who targeted the London Underground transit system and a double-decker bus, collectively killing 52 people and injuring over 770 others.“July 7 2005 London Bombings Fast Facts,” CNN, June 29, 2016, http://www.cnn.com/2013/11/06/world/europe/july-7-2005-london-bombings-fast-facts/. He carried out the bombings alongside British nationals Shehzad Tanweer, Hasib Hussain, and Germaine Lindsay.“7 July London bombings: What happened that day?” BBC News, July 3, 2015, http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-33253598. The attack constitutes the deadliest modern terrorist attack on British soil.Laura Smith-Spark, “7/7 Anniversary: UK Remembers Those Lost in 2005 London Terror Attacks,” CNN, July 9, 2015, http://www.cnn.com/2015/07/07/europe/uk-london-terror-attack-anniversary/;
“7/7 London bombings: What Happened on 7 July 2005?” BBC, July 6, 2015, http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsround/33401669.

According to the British government, starting in 2001 Khan traveled to Pakistan several times to receive training from al-Qaeda militants.Rachel Williams, “Defendant ended up at Pakistan training camp ‘by accident’ jury told,” Guardian (London), April 28, 2009, https://www.theguardian.com/uk/2009/apr/29/july-7-trial-camps. He made his final trip to Pakistan months before the 7/7 bombings, bringing fellow bomber Shehzad Tanweer. At an al-Qaeda safehouse in Islamabad, the pair received explosives training and recorded martyrdom videos.Rachel Williams, “Defendant ended up at Pakistan training camp ‘by accident’ jury told,” Guardian (London), April 28, 2009, https://www.theguardian.com/uk/2009/apr/29/july-7-trial-camps. In September 2005, al-Qaeda released a video claiming responsibility for the 7/7 bombings. The video included a statement from then-al-Qaeda-deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri and a clip from Khan’s martyrdom video in which Khan stated, “Our words are dead until we give them life with our blood.”“‘UK Bomber’ on Al Jazeera Tape,” CNN, September 2, 2005, http://www.cnn.com/2005/WORLD/europe/09/01/london.claim/.

Khan was the son of Muslim Pakistani immigrants and the youngest of six children.“Profile: Mohammad Sidique Khan,” BBC News, April 20, 2017, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/4762209.stm. He was raised in Leeds, where he met two of the 7/7 bombers, Shehzad Tanweer and Hasib Hussain.Shiv Malik, “My brother the bomber,” Prospect (London), June 30, 2007, http://www.prospectmagazine.co.uk/magazine/my-brother-the-bomber-mohammad-sidique-khan. According to his brother, Khan adopted a more extreme version of Islam in or around 1999.Shiv Malik, “My brother the bomber,” Prospect (London), June 30, 2007, http://www.prospectmagazine.co.uk/magazine/my-brother-the-bomber-mohammad-sidique-khan. In the early 2000s, Khan began work as a teacher’s assistant at a primary school, and served as a youth mentor in local mosques and Islamic centers.Sandra Laville and Dilpazier Aslam, “Mentor to the young and vulnerable,” Guardian (London), July 14, 2005, https://www.theguardian.com/uk/2005/jul/14/july7.uksecurity5;
“Profile: Mohammad Sidique Khan,” BBC News, April 20, 2017, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/4762209.stm.
Khan reportedly told his work colleagues that he had turned to religion after fighting, drinking, and using drugs as a youth.“Profile: Mohammad Sidique Khan,” BBC News, April 20, 2017, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/4762209.stm.

During the early 2000s, Khan traveled to Pakistan several times to receive training from al-Qaeda militants. He also communicated with and plotted alongside al-Qaeda extremists within the United Kingdom, according to the British prosecutors.Rachel Williams, “Defendant ended up at Pakistan training camp ‘by accident’ jury told,” Guardian (London), April 28, 2009, https://www.theguardian.com/uk/2009/apr/29/july-7-trial-camps. In the summer of 2001, Khan reportedly began helping two London-based al-Qaeda operatives—Omar Sharif and Asif Hanif—to recruit British youth for training in Afghanistan. Sharif and Hanif would go on to perpetrate suicide attacks in Tel Aviv, Israel, in 2003.Shiv Malik, “My brother the bomber,” Prospect (London), June 30, 2007, http://www.prospectmagazine.co.uk/magazine/my-brother-the-bomber-mohammad-sidique-khan. Khan was reportedly also in contact with U.K.-based Mohammed Quayyum Khan, a suspected al-Qaeda operative.Shiv Malik, “My brother the bomber,” Prospect (London), June 30, 2007, http://www.prospectmagazine.co.uk/magazine/my-brother-the-bomber-mohammad-sidique-khan. British prosecutors later accused Mohammed Quayyum Khan of facilitating Mohammad Siddiqe Khan’s 2003 travel to Pakistan.Ian Cobain and Jeevan Vasagar, “Free – the man accused of being an al-Qaeda leader, aka ‘Q’,” Guardian (London), May 1, 2007, https://www.theguardian.com/uk/2007/may/01/politics.topstories3.

Khan was dismissed from his job in 2004 due to poor attendance, evidently because he had traveled to and spent extended periods of time in Pakistan. The MI5 monitored Khan on four separate occasions between February and March of 2004. Authorities suspected that Khan was associated with a domestic group planning to build a fertilizer bomb, though they stopped monitoring him due to a lack of evidence.“Profile: Mohammad Sidique Khan,” BBC News, April 20, 2017, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/4762209.stm. In November of that year, Khan again traveled to Pakistan, this time accompanied by Shehzad Tanweer.“Profile: Mohammad Sidique Khan,” BBC News, April 20, 2017, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/4762209.stm. Pakistan-based Rashid Rauf—an al-Qaeda recruiter and British citizen of Kashmiri descent—arranged for Tanweer and Khan to stay in a rented house in Islamabad, where they received explosives training and filmed martyrdom videos to be released after their deaths.Nic Robertson, Paul Cruickshank and Tim Lister, “Documents give new details on al Qaeda’s London bombings,” CNN, April 30, 2012, http://www.cnn.com/2012/04/30/world/al-qaeda-documents-london-bombings/.

On July 7, 2005, Khan, Tanweer, and Hasib Hussain drove in a rented car from Leeds to Luton, where they met Lindsay. The men arrived by train to London’s “King’s Cross” railway station, where they dispersed and detonated their devices in the underground ‘tube’ and on a double-decker bus. Khan detonated his suicide bomb in the tube’s Circle Line Train at the Edgeware Road stop, killing six people.“7 July London bombings: What happened that day?” BBC News, July 3, 2015, http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-33253598.

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