Shehzad Tanweer

Shehzad Tanweer was one of four suicide bombers in the coordinated London bombings on July 7, 2005, known colloquially as the 7/7 bombings.“Profile: Shehzad Tanweer,” BBC News, July 6, 2006, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk/4762313.stm. He was a member of the four-person al-Qaeda-linked terror cell responsible for the attack, which included British citizens Mohammad Sidique Khan, 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 men targeted the London Underground transit system and a double-decker bus, collectively killing 52 people and injuring over 770 others.CNN Library, “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/. Al-Qaeda claimed responsibility for the bombings in a video released in September 2005.Alan Cowell, “Al Jazeera Video Links London Bombings to Al Qaeda,” New York Times, September 2, 2005, http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/02/world/europe/al-jazeera-video-links-london-bombings-to-al-qaeda.html?_r=0. According to British officials, in November 2004 Tanweer traveled with Khan—later identified as the attack mastermind—to Pakistan, where the pair received explosives training at an al-Qaeda camp 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;
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/.

Tanweer was born in Bradford, England, in 1982 to British citizens of Pakistani origin.“Report of the Official Account of the Bombings in London on 7th July 2005,” United Kingdom Home Office, May 11, 2006, 13, https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/228837/1087.pdf. As a child, he moved with his family to Beeston, on the outskirts of Leeds, where 7/7 bombers Mohammad Sidique Khan and Hasib Hussain were also raised. According to the U.K. Home Office’s report on the 7/7 bombings, Tanweer did well academically and played for the local cricket team. He became more religiously observant at age 16 or 17, according to his friends’ accounts.“Profile: Shehzad Tanweer,” BBC News, July 6, 2006, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk/4762313.stm;
“Report of the Official Account of the Bombings in London on 7th July 2005,” United Kingdom Home Office, May 11, 2006, 15, https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/228837/1087.pdf.
Between 2001 and 2003, Tanweer studied sports science at Leeds Metropolitan University where he received a Higher National Diploma—a higher education qualification in the United Kingdom.“Report of the Official Account of the Bombings in London on 7th July 2005,” United Kingdom Home Office, May 11, 2006, 14, https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/228837/1087.pdf. Tanweer then worked at his father’s fish and chips shop in Leeds and did not pursue a higher degree due to a reported lack of financial aid.“Report of the Official Account of the Bombings in London on 7th July 2005,” United Kingdom Home Office, May 11, 2006, 15, https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/228837/1087.pdf.

While Tanweer worked for his father, he became more involved in local Islamic centers and is believed to have met 7/7 mastermind Mohammad Sidique Khan through Khan’s youth work in the Muslim community.Shiv Malik, “My brother the bomber,” Prospect (London), June 30, 2007, http://www.prospectmagazine.co.uk/magazine/my-brother-the-bomber-mohammad-sidique-khan.  The men’s social lives centered primarily on attending mosque, youth clubs, gyms, and an Islamic bookshop in Beeston.“Report of the Official Account of the Bombings in London on 7th July 2005,” United Kingdom Home Office, May 11, 2006, 15, https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/228837/1087.pdf. In April 2004, he received a “caution” from police for disorderly conduct, though there is little information on this incident.“Report of the Official Account of the Bombings in London on 7th July 2005,” United Kingdom Home Office, May 11, 2006, 15, https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/228837/1087.pdf. During this time, Tanweer came onto the security service’s radar during a separate surveillance operation, though authorities did not investigate him because there were “more pressing priorities at the time,” according to the Home Office’s report.“Profile: Shehzad Tanweer,” BBC News, July 6, 2006, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk/4762313.stm; Ian Cobain, Richard Norton-Taylor and Jeevan Vasagar, “MI5 decided to stop watching two suicide bombers,” Guardian (London), May 1, 2007, https://www.theguardian.com/uk/2007/may/01/terrorism.politics2.

Tanweer and Khan traveled to Pakistan in November 2004, where they received explosives training from al-Qaeda operatives, according to the Home Office.“Report of the Official Account of the Bombings in London on 7th July 2005,” United Kingdom Home Office, May 11, 2006, 19, https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/228837/1087.pdf. Pakistan-based Rashid Rauf—an al-Qaeda recruiter and British citizen of Kashmiri descent—arranged for Tanweer and Khan to train in a rented house in Islamabad, where they 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/. Tanweer reportedly told his family and friends that he had traveled to Pakistan to find a school at which to study religion and Arabic.Sandra Laville and Dilpazier Aslam, “Trophy-rich athlete who turned to jihad,” The Guardian, July 14, 2005, https://www.theguardian.com/uk/2005/jul/14/july7.uksecurity6;
“Report of the Official Account of the Bombings in London on 7th July 2005,” United Kingdom Home Office, May 11, 2006, 19, https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/228837/1087.pdf.

In June 2005, Tanweer, Khan, and Germaine Lindsay met in London and carried out a reconnaissance mission, deciding which sites to attack.Shiv Malik, “My brother the bomber,” Prospect (London), June 30, 2007, http://www.prospectmagazine.co.uk/magazine/my-brother-the-bomber-mohammad-sidique-khan. One month later, on July 7, 2005, Tanweer, Khan, 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. Tanweer detonated his suicide bomb in the London Underground’s Circle Line Train en route to Aldgate station, killing seven people and injuring 171 more.“7 July London bombings: What happened that day?” BBC News, July 3, 2015, http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-33253598;
Duncan Gardham, “Life of July 7 bomber Shehzad Tanweer celebrated by family in Pakistan,” Telegraph (London), July 7, 2008, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2264298/Life-of-July-7-bomber-Shehzad-Tanweer-celebrated-by-family-in-Pakistan.html.

On July 6, 2006, on the eve of the first anniversary of the bombings, al-Qaeda released Tanweer’s martyrdom video on an Islamist website. The video included statements from then-al-Qaeda-deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri and American-born al-Qaeda propagandist Adam Gadahn. In his martyrdom video, Tanweer issued a warning to the west, saying, “What you have witnessed now is only the beginning of a string of attacks that will continue and become stronger.”  According to British police, the timing of the release coincided with the anniversary of the 7/7 bombings to cause “maximum hurt.”“Video of 7 July bomber released,” BBC News, July 6, 2006, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/5154714.stm.

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