UK honours victims of 7/7, Sousse

Friday 10/07/2015
Tunisians join hands as they observe a minute’s silence in

London - The United Kingdom observed a minute of silence on July 7th, marking the tenth anni­versary of the 7/7 attacks, just days after honouring the 30 British victims of the Sousse attack in Tunisia.

The Islamic State (ISIS) attack June 26th on the Tunisian beach resort had been the largest loss of British life in a terrorist attack since the 7/7 bombings, which re­sulted in the deaths of 52 London commuters.

“Ten years on from the 7/7 Lon­don attacks, the threat from terror­ism continues to be as real as it is deadly. The murder of 30 innocent Britons while holidaying in Tunisia is a brutal reminder of that fact. But we will never be cowed by ter­rorism,” British Prime Minister Da­vid Cameron said in a statement.

Hashtag #Walktogether trended on July 7th and saw commuters post images of themselves on Lon­don’s Underground and buses to honour the victims of the attack and express defiance towards the spectre of terrorism. Cameron and London Mayor Boris Johnson led a wreath-laying ceremony at the 7 July Memorial in London’s Hyde Park.

The ceremony saw dignitaries bow their heads before the memo­rial’s 52 steel columns, each repre­senting a victim killed by home-grown al-Qaeda-inspired terrorists a decade ago.

Families of victims and survi­vors of the attack gathered in Hyde Park to mark the occasion, with the names of the victims read out by attack survivor Tim Coulson. A special service was held at St Paul’s Cathedral, attended by leaders of London’s Christian, Jewish and Muslim communities.

While Cameron and others ex­pressed defiance, some remain haunted by the events of 2005. Emma Craig, who was 14 at the time of the attack, delivered an emotional speech at the Hype Park memorial. “All of us lost our inno­cence that day… It may not have broken London but it did break some of us,” she said.

Four days earlier, the United Kingdom came to a standstill with a minute of silence to honour the British victims of the Sousse at­tack, killed by an Islamic State (ISIS) gunman.

On July 7, 2005, four British Mus­lims — Mohammad Sidique Khan, 30; Shehzad Tanweer, 22; Hasib Hussain, 18; and Germaine Lind­say, 19 — detonated bombs hid­den in rucksacks on three Under­ground trains and one bus, killing 52 and injuring at least 700 others.

The attack on London by home-grown terrorists with links to al- Qaeda in Pakistan and Afghanistan saw the United Kingdom take re­newed action to confront terror­ism, including the introduction of a stronger anti-terror bill.

ISIS gunman Seifeddine Rezgui’s attack on tourists in Tunisia’s Sousse resort was met with wide­spread condemnation, with calls for the United Kingdom to do more to counter ISIS at home and abroad. Cameron has pledged a “full spectrum response” to ISIS and UK Defence Secretary Michael Fallon called on the government to expand air strikes to include ISIS targets in Syria.

London saw increased security in the run up to the 7/7 anniversary amid fears of copycat attacks. The British capital had a major coun­terterrorism exercise over 48 hours the week prior to the anniversary. Codenamed Strong Tower, the ex­ercise incorporated thousands of police officers, soldiers, emergen­cy service workers and intelligence officials and represented London’s largest counterterrorist exercise.

As for the state of security on the London Underground during the anniversary, Richard Jones, head of the London Underground’s Command and Control, said: “De­velopments in technology, includ­ing digital CCTV and upgraded radio communications, have im­proved our ability to identify and respond to threats.

Since 2005 we have increased the number of British Transport Police officers on the Tube by more than 40%, to 700.”

11