Report Says London Bombers Likely Had Contact to Al Qaeda | Europe| News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 11.05.2006
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Report Says London Bombers Likely Had Contact to Al Qaeda

The British government said Thursday that the men who set off bombs in subway cars and a bus may have been trained in Pakistan. Assessors said a lack of resources contributed to the failure in preventing the attacks.

The blasts in London Underground were detonated just seconds apart

The blasts in London Underground were detonated just seconds apart

The report by an influential parliamentary committee released Thursday pointed out that investigations were underway to establish the precise degree of any al-Qaeda involvement in Britain's worst terrorist attack, which killed over 50 people and wounded over 700.

In the first full official account of the events leading up to July 7 and its aftermath, the report said Mohammad Sidique Khan, 30, and Shehzad Tanweer, 22 -- two of the four bombers -- were known to have been in Pakistan from November 2004 and February 2005.

Reason for Pakistan visit still unclear

"It has not yet been established who they met in Pakistan, but it is assessed as likely that they had some contact with al-Qaeda figures, the 44-page report by the Intelligence and Security Committee said.

Terroranschlag in London Galerie

Seats on the upper deck of the exploded bus remained intact

The two men probably received "operational training" there, it said.

At the same time, the committee dismissed theories which circulated after the bombings of a fifth bomber or "mastermind" who may have subsequently fled the country.

The report revealed that Khan and Tanweer had come to the attention of British intelligence prior to the attack.

"More pressing priorities" than tracking suspects, report says

"At that time their identities were unknown to the security service and there was no appreciation of their subsequent significance," it said, adding nothing was done about them, because "there were more pressing priorities."

Gedenken der Opfer der Terroranschläge von London

Still in shock at a remembrance memorial on July 9, 2005 -- many dead were still trapped inside subway tunnels

"Nonetheless, we conclude that, in the light of the other priority investigations being conducted and the limitations on security service resources, the decisions not to give greater investigative priority to these two individuals were understandable."

Khan and Tanweer, along with Hasib Hussain, 18, and Germaine Lindsay, 19, blew up three London Underground trains and a double-decker bus during the morning rush hour on July 7, 2005, by detonating bombs packed into rucksacks.

A "lack of resources"

The report identified a lack of resources available to the intelligence agencies, namely Britain's domestic spy service MI5, to tackle the threat of terrorism.

"The story of what was known about the 7 July group prior to July indicates that if more resources had been in place sooner the chances of preventing the July attacks could have increased," the text said. "Greater coverage in Pakistan, or more resources generally in the UK, might have alerted the agencies to the intention of the July 7 group."

Some victims' families want a public inquiry

The two reports were launched last year after the government ruled out a public inquiry into the attacks, despite calls for such an investigation from families of the 52 people who were killed and the 700 who were injured.

Terroranschlag in London Opfer BdT

Hundreds were wounded in the blasts

Those affected have reiterated their demands for such an investigation.

Paul Dadge, who was famously pictured leading a woman to safety after one of the subway train blasts, told the BBC that only a public inquiry would ensure all the lessons from July 7 were learnt.

"I will do whatever I can to campaign for a public inquiry," he said.

Some of the victims also rejected the suggestion that a lack of resources was to blame for the failure to prevent the bombings.

Diana Gorodi, whose sister, Michelle Otto, died said: "If we can afford a war in Iraq, surely we can afford to get protected in England.

"After all, it is the taxpayers that are paying for all that, so should those resources not be focused on defending us in England?" she asked.

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