One year on, London police warn of more bombings
LONDON, July 7 (Reuters) Britain marked the first anniversary of the London suicide bombings with flowers, candles and a 2-minute silence today as the city's police chief said another attack now looked more likely.
One year after four young British Muslims blew themselves up on London's transport system, killing 52 people and wounding 700, Metropolitan Police Commissioner Ian Blair described the threat faced by Britain as ''grim''.
''There are, as we speak, people in the United Kingdom planning further atrocities,'' he told BBC Radio. ''Since July, the threat has palpably increased.'' As sombre Londoners went to work, stopping to lay flowers at the site of the July 7, 2005 attacks, the mood was one of unease mixed with resignation and defiance.
''I was there. It could have been me, so I am just lucky to be alive and remembering those who weren't that lucky,'' said Robert Andrews, 29, who was on one of the bombed London Underground trains.
''I am aware it could happen again but I am not worried,'' he told Reuters. ''I have just got to get on with my life.'' In what appeared to be a well-timed bid to fuel fears, a video surfaced yesterday apparently showing one of the London bombers, Shehzad Tanweer, reading his last testament.
The previously unseen video, broadcast on Qatar-based Al Jazeera television, also showed al Qaeda's deputy leader Ayman al-Zawahri, suggesting a link between Osama bin Laden's network and the bombers.
NO ONE CHARGED The failure of the police to charge anyone in connection with Western Europe's first suicide attack has added to unease.
The British government says it knows little about the motivation of the bombers, their possible training abroad or their alleged links to al Qaeda.
A survey by the Pew Global Attitudes Project released in Washington yesterday showed 42 percent of Britons were very concerned about a rise in Islamic extremism in Britain compared to 34 percent a year ago.
Many of Britain's 1.8 million Muslims feel their community has been unfairly targeted by the police since the attacks. Two botched anti-terrorist operations in which police shot two innocent men, killing one of them, have not helped.
Some survivors want a full public inquiry into events which, like the September 11 attacks in the United States, have become etched into the British psyche as a simple date -- 7/7.
Prime Minister Tony Blair, whose decision to send troops to Iraq and Afghanistan was cited by Tanweer as a reason for the bombings, did not address such criticism in a statement to mark the occasion.
''Today is a day of remembrance across London and the United Kingdom,'' said Blair, who joined the nation in a 2-minute silence at midday (1100 GMT).
''It is a chance for the whole nation to come together to offer comfort and support to those who lost loved ones or were injured on that terrible day.'' Earlier, candles of remembrance were lit under the vast dome of St Paul's Cathedral at 8:50 a.m. and at 9:47 a.m. -- the times the bombs went off -- as a single bell tolled.
REUTERS SI HT1728