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London marks 10 years since the 7/7 terrorist attacks

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Britain marks 10 years since the 2005 London suicide bombings that killed 52 people on Tuesday, with Prime Minister David Cameron laying a wreath at the Hyde Park memorial honouring the victims and a minute's silence at 10:30am (GMT).

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Cameron laid a floral tribute at the memorial at 8:50am local time, the moment that the first of four bombs was detonated on the city's transport system on July 7, 2005, by homegrown jihadists.

The anniversary comes less than a fortnight after an attack at a Tunisian resort left 30 Britons and eight others dead in a June 26 terrorist shooting. The death toll was the highest for Britain since the 2005 London attacks.

"Ten years on from the 7/7 London attacks, the threat from terrorism continues to be as real as it is deadly," Cameron said.

"The murder of 30 innocent Britons whilst holidaying in Tunisia is a brutal reminder of that fact. But we will never be cowed by terrorism."

In a social media tribute that quickly trended on Twitter, commuters posted pictures of themselves walking to work as part of the #WalkTogether campaign to honour the victims of 7/7.

The first three bombs exploded on London Underground trains at the Aldgate, Edgware Road and Russell Square stations.

An hour later, a fourth suicide bomber blew himself up on a double-decker bus in Tavistock Square near Russell Square, killing and injuring some of those who had been evacuated from the Underground.

In the past decade, successive British governments have expanded security powers and improved the way the emergency services respond to attacks.

But they are still struggling to address the problem of homegrown radicalisation that was highlighted by the bombings, which were carried out not by foreign fighters but by four young men who were inspired by al Qaeda.

Hundreds of British young people are now flocking to join the Islamic State group in both Syria and Iraq, raising fears that they might return to attack their homeland.

A second moment of silence in days

Relatives and survivors will gather at the Hyde Park memorial later in the day to lay flowers before a service at St Paul's Cathedral.

A nationwide minute's silence will be held at 10:30 GMT, the second in four days after Britain fell silent on Friday for those killed in Tunisia.

For many of those directly affected by the London bombings, the anniversary has brought back painful memories.

David Boyce was a 25-year-old supervisor at Russell Square station and one of the first to witness the carnage.

"There was body parts all over the place and dead bodies lying all over the train," he told AFP in an interview.

Many lives were saved by people such as Boyce, but the general emergency response was fractured, hampered by poor communications inside the tunnels and between controllers.

This has been overhauled, as has the government's counter-terrorism strategy, with new measures introduced to clamp down on radical preachers and give police and security services tougher powers to question and track suspects.

Despite the new measures, intelligence chief Andrew Parker on Tuesday warned that the risk to Britain remained high.

"Appalling acts are attempted by individuals who have grown up here but decided for whatever twisted reasons to identify their own country as the enemy," said the MI5 director-general.

"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," he said.

The national terror threat remains severe  ̶  the second-highest of the five levels, meaning an attack is "highly likely".

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)

 

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