News / Europe

London Bombing Anniversary - Five Years Later

Aftermath of the 2005 London terrorist bombing
Aftermath of the 2005 London terrorist bombing
Henry Ridgwell

Three British citizens have been convicted of plotting suicide attacks on airliners flying between Britain and the United States. They were convicted days after London marked the fifth anniversary of the July 2005 bombings. Fifty-two people died when British-born suicide bombers struck the city's transport system. The government is warning that the threat of an attack remains 'severe.' The focus is increasingly on so-called home-grown terrorists.

While she was a student at a British University, Hadiya Masieh was recruited by radicals from the Islamic group Hizb ut-Tahrir.  

The British government once tried to ban the organization, saying it was extremist. Masieh explains her story.

"I was a teenager," said Hadiya Masieh. "My emotions were quite heightened. I could really sense a lot of the injustices in the world, and there was a group that was addressing some of these issues in a way that I'd never heard or seen before."

Since university, Masieh's life has turned full circle.

She now works for the Three Faiths Forum, an interfaith group, and campaigns  against Islamic extremism.

The London terror attacks of July 7, 2005, called 7/7 here, is one of the reasons.

"I believe that 7/7 was a wake-up call, looking at these atrocities happening in my back yard," she said.

London has just marked the fifth anniversary of the attacks. Fifty-two people were killed when four suicide bombers attacked the capital's transportation network. The shock was compounded when it emerged that the attackers, captured here on surveillance cameras before the attacks,  were British Muslims - so-called "home-grown" terrorists.

M.J. Gohel of the Asia-Pacific Foundation says the threat of another similar attack is severe.

"The last estimate made by British intelligence estimated that there are something like 2,000 suspects in this country that need to be looked at carefully all the time," said M.J. Gohel. "There are some 30 high priority terrorist plots ongoing, and there are some 200 terrorist networks. Now that is quite frightening in a small country the size of the UK."

A new report from the Centre for Social Cohesion, another research group, claims that over the last decade, more than two-thirds of criminals convicted of Islamist terror-related offenses were British citizens.

Robin Simcox wrote the report. He says the findings were a surprise.

"A lot of them passed through higher education, a lot of them had jobs, and a lot of them actually weren't connected to al-Qaida whatsoever," said Robin Simcox. "And we often tend to be very al-Qaida focused."

A few days after the 7/7 anniversary, three British citizens from London were convicted of planning suicide attacks on airliners flying between Britain and the United States.

Theirs was not the only plot.

Since 2005, security services have succeeded in thwarting a number of terror plots in Britain, says M.J. Gohel.

"Even though to a large extent an individual may be home-grown, there is a foreign dimension," he said. "The ideology is very much that of Osama Bin Laden, Al Qaida and the global jihad movement."

The daily fear that London commuters faced following the attacks has now passed. But the security services warn that so-called homegrown terrorists, born and raised in Britain, are still plotting attacks on their own people.

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