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July 21 'bombs' could have killed

Last Modified: 24 Jan 2007
Source: ITN

Explosives used by the alleged July 21 bombers were so powerful they would have caused death, loss of limbs or serious internal injuries, a court has heard.

A mixture of hydrogen peroxide and chapatti flour, along with its TATP detonator, had a similar explosive strength to gelignite and TNT, according to forensic scientist Claire McGavigan.

She said the alleged bombs could have exploded at around 6km per second, sending lethal shrapnel travelling at "hundreds of metres a second".

Six men are on trial at Woolwich Crown Court accused of planning an extremist Muslim plot to carry out a series of murderous suicide bombings on the London public transport system.

The jury has heard how none of four bombs set off in three tube trains and a bus on July 21 exploded properly.

Ramzi Mohammed, 25, of North Kensington, west London, is alleged to have tried to set off the first bomb on the Northern Line between Stockwell and Oval.

Ms McGavigan, who tested samples from the gel-like substance oozing out of Mohammed's rucksack left on the train, said she thought the reason the improvised device had not gone off was due to the detonator.

"It appears that the most likely reason was that the initiator containing the TATP wasn't actually powerful enough to set off the main charge in this particular case," she said.

The home-made explosive was placed in a plastic container with shrapnel such as nails and screws taped to the outside, the court heard.

Describing the potential impact of the shrapnel, she said: "Any fragment travelling at that speed and possibly very hot is very dangerous and can obviously embed itself in a person and cause serious injury."

"There would be serious damage to the train itself, there would also be serious injuries, quite possibly death to people in the area at the time.

"If they did not suffer death, serious injuries such as injuries to internal organs, loss of limbs, effects on your hearing - very serious injuries indeed."

All six defendants deny charges of conspiracy to murder and conspiracy to cause explosions likely to endanger life.

They are Mohammed, Muktar Said Ibrahim, 29, of Stoke Newington, north London; Manfo Kwaku Asiedu, 33, of no fixed address; Yassin Omar, 26, from New Southgate, north London; Hussain Osman, 28, of no fixed address; and Adel Yahya, 24, of High Road, Tottenham, north London.

© Independent Television News Limited 2007. All rights reserved.

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