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Were they amateurs?

Posted by Richard on July 8, 2005

Confederate Yankee made some points about the London bombings that I’m inclined to agree with: the relatively low number of deaths, the undetonated bombs, and the apparent simplicity and lack of sophistication of the attacks suggest that this wasn’t an al Qaeda attack, but al Qaeda "wannabees," probably from some radical Islamist London mosque.

I’d quote some of it, but for some reason, every attempt to select any text on his site selects all text to the end of the page. Screw it. Go read the whole thing; there are lots of interesting updates.

UPDATE (7/8): Confederate Yankee continues to pursue this theory, adding new evidence (I can quote this time):

The more details come out about the four bombs that went of in London yesterday (and the two that didn’t), the more it sounds like we are dealing with terrorists with a minimum of training. 1/3 of the known bombs failed to detonate, of those 40%, or 3 of 5, failed to detonate in the Underground (subway) attacks. One may have even killed one or more terrorists in a premature detonation.

The crudeness of the timers seems more likely if this story reported by the New York Times is true, that the fourth device, the one that blew up the bus, apparently blew up prematurely while in route to its primary target.

If this story of a premature detonation turns out to be true—and we’re talking about a New York Times story instead of a blog entry, so there is room for doubt—then there is a strong possibility that the bomber and any accomplices traveling with him may have been among those killed in the blast.

Yesterday, when I first heard authorities say that the bus might have been a suicide bombing, I speculated to a friend that it might have been a premature detonation. It strikes me as implausible that the jihadists’ plan was to plant five bombs with timers, but use a "martyr" to detonate the sixth. It’s more likely that the deviation from the pattern was accidental.

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2 Responses to “Were they amateurs?”

  1. Andy said

    Another way of reading it is that Western intelligence forces are actually squeezing al-Qaeda groups so hard that their power to effect large-scale attacks is actually diminishing. The loss of life from New York – Madrid – London is on a diminishing scale.

  2. Anonymous said

    That’s part of it, I’m sure. They’ve been forced to decentralize further, from what I’ve read, becoming more like a “franchise” operation. So maybe this franchise lacked the training and support they needed from “corporate headquarters.”

    For whatever reason, this cell was pretty damn incompetent and ineffective. Given better equipment (bombs and timers) and execution, their mission could have killed many hundreds.

    Small consolation to those who lost friends and relatives, but good news for the rest of us.

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