One year on, uneasy Britons mark London bombings
LONDON, July 7 (Reuters) Britain marked the first anniversary of the London bombings today in a mood of sombre reflection but many Britons still fear Islamist militants, having attacked them once, might do so again.
On July 7 last year four young British Muslims blew themselves up in suicide attacks on the city's transport system on a summer morning, killing 52 people and wounding 700.
Despite an exhaustive inquiry police have not charged anyone in connection with the attacks, and the government says it knows little about the motivation of the bombers, their possible training abroad or their alleged links to al Qaeda.
''I know there will be another attack. I know we are no safer,'' said Rachel North, 35, who was on a packed Piccadilly Line carriage blown up near Russell Square station, killing 26 commuters.
In what appeared to be a well-timed bid to fuel worries about more attacks, a video surfaced yesterday purportedly showing one bomber Shehzad Tanweer reading his last statement before his death.
The previously unseen video, broadcast on the Qatar-based Al Jazeera television, also showed images of al Qaeda's deputy leader Ayman al-Zawahri that suggested a definite link between Osama bin Laden's network and the bombers.
Tanweer described the attacks he and the other bombers were about to commit as ''only the beginning of a string of attacks that will continue and become stronger until you (the British) pull your forces out of Afghanistan and Iraq''.
''Damn You To Hell,'' the Daily Mirror said in its banner headline today beside a picture of Tanweer.
RISING CONCERN 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.
Despite their frequent condemnation of such statements, 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.
Survivors of the bombings say the official report into the attacks, published in May, did not answer all their questions.
Many want a full public inquiry into the day which, like the Sept.
11 attacks in the United States, has become etched into the British psyche as a simple but potent date -- 7/7.
Prime Minister Tony Blair, whose decision to join the Iraq invasion has been cited by some as a motivating factor for the bombers, will seek to shift attention away from such criticism today when he leads the nation in remembering the victims.
Commemorative plaques will be unveiled close to where the bombs went off on London's ''Tube'' underground railway system and there will be a nationwide 2-minute silence at midday (1630 hrs IST) that Blair will observe with emergency workers.
Under the cavernous dome of St Paul's Cathedral, candles will be lit at the exact time the bombs went off -- the first at 8:50 hrs local time and the last at 9:47 hrs local time.
''The anniversary is going to be an incredibly difficult time for many people, particularly for the families of victims and for survivors,'' said Paulo Pimentel, director of the government's July 7 assistance centre.
Four men were arrested after police said they thwarted a similar attack on July 21 last year when bombs failed to explode.
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