HUNDREDS OF THE Faithful made their way into the big new Watford Mosque for Friday afternoon prayers, minds set on paying homage to Allah the Almighty, the One and Only God.
There was a loud explosion in front of the main entrance. A hail of metal fragments tore through the fragile flesh of scores of men. Dozens fell to the ground mortally wounded; some killed instantly, others moaning with their last breath on earth. A severed head lay next to a lonely arm, as if conversing with it. A young boy’s dead eyes stared at the sky, asking why?
As others rushed to the aid of their wounded fellow worshippers, a salvo of gunfire erupted from the top deck of a passing double-decker bus, smiting those charitable souls. More bodies littered the mosque’s forecourt; more screams and moans issued from the throats of the dying.
Not far from one of the wounded, Major Mike Jambu spoke into his lapel microphone.
“Thumbs, get after the bus, pick me up on the way.”
Thumbs Green gunned the engine of the Range Rover, shot across the square, and slowed down momentarily to pick up Mike on the run. He aimed the vehicle up the quiet side street in pursuit of the bus. There was very little traffic in this street prior to the evening rush, and the Rover was soon doing 75mph, while weaving slightly to avoid what traffic there was.
The double-decker had a few minutes start, and was no longer in sight. Thumbs hoped it had stayed on the curving street without turning off. His passengers checked the side streets as they shot past them. So far no sign of the bus.
“Okay everybody,” said Mike Jambu. “You know the drill. Windows open, door catches off. Don’t wait for the bastards to shoot first, fire at will.”
There were four others in the Rover besides Mike and Thumbs, all of them heavily armed. They had been about to divest themselves of most of their weapons and join the Faithful, when the bomb had gone off. All except Thumbs could easily mingle with the mosque’s devotees without attracting attention, and two of them were in fact practicing Moslems.
Chief Petty Officer Raja Jalana glanced at Sergeant Angie Patel.
“You’re the sniper Angie, wing if possible, we want information, not corpses.”