Reid rejects 7/7 public inquiry calls

The home secretary John Reid has rejected calls for an independent inquiry into the bombings on July 7th 2005 after it emerged today that some of the men convicted of a fertiliser bomb plot had links with the bombers behind 7/7.

Police arrested the fertiliser bomb plotters in 2004 – about 16 months before the London bombings which killed 52 people.

The five men convicted, ringleader Omar Khyam, 25, of Crawley, West Sussex; Waheed Mahmood, 34, and Jawad Akbar, 23, also of Crawley; Salahuddin Amin, 31, of Luton, Bedfordshire; and Anthony Garcia, 24, of Barkingside, east London, were all sentenced to life at the Old Bailey this afternoon.

Two of the men who attacked London on July 7th met with Khyam's group while under surveillance. The group were not part of the 7/7 plot and were not considered at that time to be a threat to the public safety.

Shadow home secretary David Davis said that the case for independent inquiry into the 7/7 bombings is now overwhelming.

"Two facts are now crystal clear. First, our intelligence services were monitoring two of the London bombers, but stopped before July 2005. Second, whether deliberately or not, the government has not told the British public the whole truth about the circumstances and mistakes leading up to the July 7th attacks," he said.

"As a result, after nearly two years and five government reports, we still don't know the truth. And that means we still can't learn the lessons from those tragic events.

"[An independent inquiry] is the only way to achieve clarity for the British public, closure for the bereaved and ensure the security services and government learn the lessons to help prevent another attack."

Liberal Democrat leader Sir Menzies Campbell also echoed calls for an inquiry.

But in the Commons this afternoon Mr Reid said that he did not believe a public inquiry to be "the correct response" at this time.

"It would divert the energies and efforts of so many in the security service and police who are already stretched greatly in countering the [terror] threat," he said.

"Nevertheless… I've agreed with [the secret service] MI5 to publish on the web the answers to questions that have been posed before, during and after this trial."

The independent cross-party intelligence and security committee has been asked, Mr Reid said, to reappraise "all of these matters and questions following the evidence arising from [today's] trial in order that they themselves can be satisfied and others can be satisfied that any questions raised have indeed been answered, to identify any that haven't been answered and to report on this procedure to the prime minister".

Deputy assistant commissioner Peter Clarke, head of the Metropolitan police's counter terrorism command and national coordinator of terrorism investigations, said: "It is a grave disappointment and a matter of great regret to everyone involved in counter-terrorism that we were not able to prevent the attack on July 7th 2005. What this case and others in the future will show is that we are dealing with a threat posed by interlinked networks of terrorists.

"We will continue to do everything within our power, and within the law, to keep the public safe from the threat of terrorism."

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