On May 23, 2008 at 12:50 p.m. Nicky Reilly, 22, from Plymouth had a detonator blew up in his face as he was preparing his bomb in order to carry out an Islamic suicide mission. His goal was to blow up the trendy Giraffe restaurant in Princesshay, Exeter and kill everyone inside. Instead, he seriously injured his face in the small WC (bathroom) with the contained explosion.
When police arrived they confirmed that it was an explosive device and transported Reilly to the RD&E hospital. The bomb disposal unit was called in and the bomb was disarmed. Another device was found outside of the premises. Police later confirmed that Reilly, who renamed himself Mohammed Abdulaziz Rashid Saeed-Alim, planned on carrying out a suicide mission. A team of about 20 specialists from Scotland Yard’s Counterterrorism branch SO15 were brought in and days later three other suspects were arrested in connection to the attempted attack.
Pete Lee, Reality-Based Personal Protection Director of the United Kingdom, took me to the Giraffe restaurant on Sunday, June 22, in Exeter to have dinner there and to see the crime scene.
The Giraffe restaurant is in the popular Guildhall Shopping Centre. This restaurant is not a very large restaurant, and the tables are packed rather closely together. Beyond the large glass windows are tables on the outdoor eating area. Had Reilly succeeded in detonating his bomb that day he would have surely killed and maimed a fair number of people.
What makes this attempted terrorist attack so interesting is that most people never thought an Al Qaeda style attack would ever happen in Southern England. London yes, but not in Devon. Just two hours before the explosion Pete Lee was approached by a fellow police constable at the Devon and Cornwall Constabulary knowing that Pete was a Reality-Based instructor, and teaches my Terrorism Survival course, he sarcastically joked with Pete, “Well, if I need anyone to handle a terrorist running around with a machine gun I’ll call upon you, ha! ha!” The officer felt that an act of terrorism in Devon was a far fetched idea. Two hours later the Devon and Cornwall police were scrambling to deal with their first Islamic terrorist attack.
Needless to say, my Level 1 Reality-Based Personal Protection students took my Terrorism Survival course on Friday, June 27th very seriously. After the Exeter incident most martial artists in the United Kingdom are waking up to the fact that they need to learn more than punching and kicking and surviving the proverbial “pub fight.” There is an enemy out there who has already blew up three London Underground trains and a double decker bus, rammed a car bomb into the terminal at Glasgow Airport in Scotland, and Nicky Reilly who tried to murder innocent people in Exeter.
I have a strong background in counterterrorism and I feel it is important to educate my students on the dangers of terrorist attacks and to teach them the techniques that will help them survive, be it a small arms attack, a bombing, kidnapping, or a sniper attack. This is the world we live in, like it or not, and it cannot be ignored. The Reality-Based Personal Protection system is the only martial arts system offering authentic techniques and training methods to deal with such attacks.
Copyright Jim Wagner 2003 - 2021 All rights reserved.