BRITAIN paused on Tuesday to remember the 7 July London bombing victims amid warnings about the enduring and changing threat from terrorism a decade on.
The country fell silent at 11.30am to mark the 10th anniversary of the atrocity in which 52 people were murdered and hundreds more injured when four suicide bombers attacked London’s transport network.
David Cameron said the Tunisian beach massacre showed the danger remains 10 years on but vowed the nation would not be cowed by violent extremists.
The Prime Minister said: “Today the country comes together to remember the victims of one of the deadliest terrorist atrocities on mainland Britain.
“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 whilst holidaying in Tunisia is a brutal reminder of that fact. But we will never be cowed by terrorism.
“We will keep on doing all that we can to keep the British public safe, protecting vulnerable young minds from others’ extremist beliefs and promoting the shared values of tolerance, love and respect that make Britain so great.”
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 whilst holidaying in Tunisia is a brutal reminder of that fact. But we will never be cowed by terrorismPM David Cameron
The anniversary falls at a time of heightened alert after the rise of Islamic State (IS).
Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley, the country’s most senior counter-terrorism officer, said security services are tackling a “very different” threat 10 years later.
In an interview with the Press Association, he called on communities to “step forward” in the fight against radicalisation, saying their help is more crucial than ever to security services’ efforts to prevent fresh attacks.
Andrew Parker, the head of MI5, said the “continuing fact” that some British citizens are prepared to target their own country presents a “serious societal and security challenge”.
He described the “disgusting” murders 10 years ago as an “enduring reminder” of what his organisation “is striving every day to prevent”.
Tony Blair, who was prime minister at the time of the attacks, said his first response was to try to “bring people together” and deal with the “huge trauma” suffered by the capital.
Mr Blair denied that the terrorist attacks could be portrayed as a response to his foreign policy, telling LBC: “This is a global problem... and the only way of dealing with it ultimately is for people to come together whatever their faith background and say we are united against this terrorism, and to say we are not going to allow anyone to excuse themselves by saying the slaughter of totally innocent people is somehow a response to any decision by any government.”
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe said it is a “day to remember and reflect”.
He added: “We will never, ever be complacent. Whilst I hope that we will never need to deliver such a response again, if we do we will be ready.
“My thoughts today are with those taken from us, those who were affected, remain affected and with my own men and women who, day-in day-out are here for London.”
Mayor of London Boris Johnson said today’s remembrance is intended to show the bereaved, survivors and the emergency services that they have the support of all those across the city.
“Our priority today is to allow the families and friends of the 52 innocent victims of 7/7 to pay tribute to the memory of their loved ones,” he said. “And for the survivors and the many hundreds of members of our emergency services who were affected by these atrocities to know that they have the support of every Londoner.
“On the tenth anniversary of the attacks we honour the victims, we remember the sufferings of their families and we pay tribute to the actions of our emergency services on that appalling day.”