'MI5 did not monitor July 7 bombers'
British intelligence did not closely monitor two suicide bombers behind July 7 attacks despite being aware of their travel to Pakistan.india Updated: May 11, 2006 22:11 IST
British intelligence did not closely monitor two suicide bombers behind July 7 attacks despite being aware of their travel to Pakistan and likely contacts with Al-Qaeda much before they struck London transit system killing 56 people, an official report said on Thursday.
The MI5 intelligence agency had spotted Mohammad Sidique Khan, the ringleader of the four "home-grown" terrorists behind last year's bombings, but did not put him under surveillance due to lack of resources, said the cross-party Parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee.
Security forces knew that Khan and fellow bomber Shezhad Tanweer had travelled to Pakistan and it was "likely that they had some contact with Al-Qaeda figures," it said.
Identification of the bombers, who also include Hasib Hussain and Jermaine Lindsay, provided the first proof that 'home grown' terrorists existed. MI5 knew that there was a risk of British radical Muslims turning to terrorism, but limited resources meant that it was impossible to watch every suspect, it said.
The report looked at two key Mi5 judgments in the months leading up to July 7: the decision not to target 30-year-old Khan as a potential terrorist when he was spotted, unidentified, consorting with suspected terrorists who were under surveillance as also the advice given by MI5's Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre (JTAC) a month before the attacks to lower the threat level from "severe general" to "substantial."
"If more resources had been in place sooner the chances of preventing the July attacks could have increased. Greater coverage in Pakistan, or more resources generally in the UK, might have alerted the agencies to the intentions of the July 7 group," it said.