MI5 missed implicating 7/7 ringleader despite knowing his terrorist links, inquest told

Thursday, February 3, 2011

LONDON - The MI5 was unable to identify the ringleader of the July 7, 2005, London bombings, despite having his picture and having seen him associating with other terrorist suspects, the inquest into the attack has heard.

Hugo Keith, counsel to the inquest, said that Mohammad Sidique Khan was spotted by MI5 on the periphery of another terror plot as early as 2003, and was seen with suspected terrorists.

Khan was one of the four suicide bombers responsible for the terrorist attack, in which bombs were detonated on three London Underground trains and one bus in central London, killing 52 people and injuring over 700.

The 31-year-old had bombed the Edgware Road train in which six people were killed.

In a statement assessing whether the attack could have been prevented, Keith said that Khan was groomed through contact with other suspected terrorists progressing from “an associate of terrorists to prime conspirator and murderer”, the Guardian reports.

Keith highlighted that Khan’s initial training in Pakistan, association with other terrorists, and later trips to Pakistan in November 2004 and February 2005 revealed that he was “being groomed to pursue his own misguided and deadly plans”.

“One issue that may be worthy of exploration is whether successful investigation at that stage might have brought these unusual activities to the attention of West Yorkshire police or the Special Branch or the security service,” Keith told the inquest.

Those on the edge of an established plot should perhaps have been considered as potentially dangerous, their activities “critical to identify the next possible attack”, he added.

The inquest continues. (ANI)

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