Britain commemorates those lost in 2005 London bombings

Ten years ago today, 52 commuters were killed in suicide attacks on London subways and a bus by four British Muslims. Services and memorials were held across the country today in their memory.

Stefan Rousseau/PA/AP
George Psaradakis (c.), the driver of the number 30 bus which was blown up in Tavistock Square on July 7, 2005, looks at floral tributes left close to the scene of the bombings in London Tuesday. Britons on Tuesday marked the 10th anniversary of the suicide bomb attacks on London's transit system that killed 52 people.

As Britain commemorated the 10  year anniversary of the terrorist attacks that killed 56 people in London on July 7, 2005, Prime Minister David Cameron and London Mayor Boris Johnson were among those who laid wreaths on the Hyde Park memorial for the victims of the attack.  

Survivors, relatives of the victims, and other senior politicians were also among those commemorating the tragic event.

Another remembrance service took place at St. Paul’s Cathedral, and the country held a national minute of silence for the victims of the July 7, 2005, attack.

"Today the country comes together to remember the victims of one of the deadliest terrorist atrocities on mainland Britain," Mr. Cameron said in a statement.

"Ten years on from the 7/7 London attacks, the threat from terrorism continues to be as real as it is deadly – the murder of 30 innocent Britons while holidaying in Tunisia is a brutal reminder of that fact. But we will never be cowed by terrorism.”

Britain is still reeling from the June 26 attack in a Tunisian resort city that killed 38 people, 30 of whom were Britons, when a militant opened fire on tourists at a beach-front hotel.

Ten years ago, four young British Muslims traveled to London and detonated homemade bombs on three underground trains and a bus in the middle of early morning rush-hour traffic. They killed themselves and 52 other innocent civilians, while wounding around 700 people.

The attack was the first suicide bombing carried out by Islamist militants in Western Europe.

Despite the initial shock, experts noted that the attack, which may have been provoked by backlash against the country’s involvement in the war in Iraq, was not entirely unpredictable.

“Londoners have long been bracing for such scenes. Police say they have already foiled several attacks, and have warned that terrorists would probably get through sooner or later. Attacks in November 2003 on British interests in Istanbul were taken as a warning sign,” Monitor correspondent Mark Rice-Oxley wrote at the time.

Now, the threat to the country has transformed, and possibly grown more severe, due to the influence of the Islamic State militants and the British citizens who support them. The country is currently on its second highest alert level, “severe”.

Andrew Parker, head of Britain's domestic spy agency MI5, said that only a “tiny fraction of the the population” is a threat. "But the continuing fact that some people, born in the UK, with all the opportunities and freedoms that modern Britain offers, can nonetheless make those sorts of warped choices presents a serious societal and security challenge."

This report contains material from Reuters.

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