7th July 2005 was a day that shocked the United Kingdom in more ways than one.
Terrorism had shaken the country before, but it was one of the first attacks to show signs of radicalisation and the the danger that extremist groups could pose to the country.
Recent events affecting Britain, such as the Tunisia massacre and the attack on Fusilier Lee Rigby in Woolwich, seem to mirror many of the characteristics of that fateful day – the country or its citizens being made a target to prove a point, often by their own citizens who many view to have become radicalised by groups such as Al Qaeda, Al Shabab or, in more recent years, the so-called Islamic State.
However, it is unlikely that anyone affected by the attacks in 2005 could have foreseen terrorism as we define it today. While events such as 7/7 and 9/11 once made the world stand still in horror, we have now become worryingly immune to such events due to the regularity with which they occur.
Radicalisation and extremism are now reaching further than ever before as groups have adapted to run effective publicity campaigns, using the internet as a tool to their advantage more successfully than ever before – stories of young people or even entire families entering Syria to join IS are now sadly familiar news to all of us.
The rise and fall of the groups that were once stereotypically defined as ‘terrorists’, has also brought change – the death of Osama Bin Laden and the availability of much greater intelligence on groups such as Al Qaeda who planned massive organised attacks such as 7/7 has meant that more often than not this type of attack is discovered and neutralised. It is now small and more spontaneous individually planned attacks, such as the events of Woolwich, that pose more of a threat.
The targets have also varied massively since 7/7 – the events of July 2005 were aimed at a single city and a single country, whereas more recently we have seen attacks that have brought grief to multiple groups from multiple countries. While the 7/7 attacks affected many different groups across London and the UK, attacks such as the Tunisia massacre are now causing emotional pain to those in multiple countries across the world as the targets shift to airports and holiday resorts.
Regardless of the event or the target, there seems to be a common bond between those affected by terrorism. Phil Dadge, who was famously pictured in several newspapers helping the wounded during 7/7, told ITV News that the ‘7/7 extended family’ will be there to ‘support those affected by the Tunisia attack‘. It seems that perhaps the most common element of all terrorism attacks, whether Tunisia, 9/11 or 7/7, is the grief they leave behind.