7/7 Inquest: Debate about whether the Bombers Could’ve Been Stopped

07.05.2011

Following the 7/7 bombings, many of the victims’ families had called for a public inquiry into the bombings to establish whether the attacks could have been prevented by the police and MI5. Debate especially arose about the fact that the MI5 largely ignored the appearance of Mohammed Sidique Khan and Shehzad Tanweer on their terrorism radar a year earlier. Khan and Tanweer had been caught on surveillance cameras in 2004; however, to disguise the origin of the photograph before showing it to an Al Qaeda informant in the US, the image was cut in halves and cropped, making Tanweer unrecognizable. The picture of Khan was discarded entirely.

The coroner Lady Justice Hallett was critical of the Security Services’ procedures and the decision to crop the image. While she believed that MI5 had held important clues to identify the 7/7 bombers before the attacks, she ruled that Security Services could not have prevented the bombings. However, she pointed out flaws in MI5’s decision-making and recommended reviews of and improvements to their techniques as well as the recording and assessment of targets to prevent events like 7/7 from happening again.

7/7 bomber’s family hold party as city mourns

A party is being held at the grave of a 7/7 bomber in what is being described as an insult to the 52 London commuters murdered three years ago today. The family of Shehzad Tanweer and 400 guests will “celebrate his life” and “remember him as a martyr” at a village in Pakistan today. Tanweer, 22, Mohammad Sidique Khan, 30, Hasib Hussain, 18, and 19-year-old Jermaine Lindsay also died when they detonated rucksack bombs on three crowded Tube trains and a No30 bus. Tanweer’s uncle, 42-year-old property developer Tahir Pervez, is organising the celebration in which verses of the Koran will be read out then curry and rice distributed at his home in Samundari. He said today that he has “fond feelings” for his nephew and planned to visit Tanweer’s mother in Leeds later this month, adding that she was “still devastated” at the loss of her son. Seven people were killed and 171 injured when Tanweer detonated his bomb on a westbound Circle line train near Aldgate station. One villager in Pakistan who asked not be named, said: “The party is kept very secret from people outside the village but everyone knows it happens every year. People are invited to join in blessing Shehzad Tanweer’s soul by reading verses from the Koran and they call on us to remember Shehzad as a shahid (martyr).” The gathering has twice been held in secret – yards from Tanweer’s grave which is fiercely protected from outsiders. It is the largest in the cemetery of the village called Chak 477 and is opposite the mosque. On the grave, his epitaph bears the phrase “La ilaha il Mohammed dur rasool Allah” which means “there is no God but Allah, and Mohammed is his messenger”. Amar Singh reports