7 July London bombings: Silence in memory of victims

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A minute’s silence has been observed across the UK in memory of the 52 people killed by suicide bombers in London on 7 July 2005.

Survivors of the attacks and relatives of the victims were among those to mark the 10-year anniversary at a ceremony at St Paul’s Cathedral in London.

Some stations held silences at 08:50 BST – a decade on from the first bombs.

Earlier, David Cameron was among those who laid wreaths in Hyde Park – where another service will be held later.

The bombings of three Tube trains and a bus – carried out by four bombers linked to al-Qaeda and carrying rucksacks of explosives – was the worst single terrorist atrocity on British soil.

A variety of planned and informal tributes have been taking place. So far:

  • a national minute’s silence was held at 11:30 BST
  • police and fire service officials were among those who laid wreaths at the 7 July Memorial in Hyde Park
  • survivors laid flowers at Edgware Road Tube station
  • flowers were laid and a service was held at Tavistock Square, where a bus bomb exploded in 2005
  • a minute’s silence was held at 08:50 at stations including King’s Cross and Aldgate
  • hundreds of people gathered for the service at St Paul’s

At just after 08:50 on 7 July 2005, three explosions took place on the Underground – 26 people died at Russell Square, six at Edgware Road and seven at Aldgate.

Almost an hour later, a fourth device was set off on a double-decker bus in Tavistock Square, killing 13 people.

The names of the 52 victims will be read out during the national service of commemoration at St Paul’s.

More than 700 people were also injured in the attacks.

PM Mr Cameron said the day of the attacks was “one of those days where everybody remembers exactly where they were when they heard the news”.

He also tweeted: “Ten years on from the 7/7 London attacks, the threat continues to be as real as it is deadly – but we will never be cowed by terrorism.”

It was business as normal at King’s Cross earlier, save for a small gathering around the 7/7 memorial, until a station announcement that there would be a minute’s silence – one of several held ahead of the national minute’s silence later.

At the moment the blasts went off, commuters around the concourse stopped and there was a hush.

Tube workers stood together, heads bowed.

Survivors comforted each other and shared a moment of quiet reflection on what they had experienced exactly a decade ago.

At St Paul’s, the silence ended with petals being released from the dome, and four candles were lit – one for each of the four blast sites.

Some Tube trains and buses stopped, and tennis was delayed at Wimbledon to allow the silence to be observed.

‘Walk together’

Meanwhile, commuters were urged to “walk together” by finishing their morning bus or Underground commute one stop early and travelling the last few minutes by foot.

Adrian Luscombe, one of those taking part, tweeted: “A commuter today as I was 10 years ago. It could have been me. As fresh in memory as if it was yesterday.”

Later, the Duke of Cambridge will join victims’ families, survivors and ambulance and fire brigade employees who were working 10 years ago, for a service at the Hyde Park memorial, where there will be songs, recitals and a reading.

London Mayor Boris Johnson were among those who laid wreaths there earlier.

This was a simple, short almost stark ceremony.

There were no readings, no music.

In silence, wreaths – more than a dozen of them – were placed on the memorial stone at the time when, 10 years ago, three of the four homemade rucksack bombs exploded underground with such devastating consequences.

The 7 July Memorial, which consists of 52 stainless steel pillars, was designed to symbolise the random nature of the loss of life.

Tessa Jowell, a minister at the time of the attacks, has spoken of how each column represents a unique person, a unique grief.

The memorial events are very much about that grief; about the enduring sense of loss suffered by the bereaved; and about the unfulfilled futures of the 52 who were murdered.

The bombings were carried out by Mohammad Sidique Khan, 30, Shehzad Tanweer, 22, Hasib Hussain, 18, and Germaine Lindsay, 19. The group had links to al-Qaeda in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The UK’s most senior counter-terrorism officer, Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley, said the rise of Islamic State militants in Syria and Iraq meant the UK was now facing a “very different” threat.

 

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