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A decade after London bombings, UK stays alert

The official threat level In the United Kingdom from international terrorism is set at ‘severe’, which means a terrorist act is highly likely.

world Updated: Jul 06, 2015 17:22 IST
Prasun Sonwalkar
Prasun Sonwalkar
Hindustan Times

It’s the kind of landmark event that evokes the question: Where were you on that day? Where were you on September 11? Where were you on July 7? As London prepares to mark a decade of the 7/7 bombings, Britain remains on high alert.

The official threat level from international terrorism is set at ‘severe’, which means a terrorist act is highly likely. The recent Tunisia killings are being seen as the worst terrorist act against Britons since the 7/7 London bombings, since 30 of the 38 dead with Britons.

Hours before the tenth anniversary, a man draped in an Islamic State flag was spotted near the houses of parliament. Officials remain concerned over the steady flow of Britons travelling to Syria to join IS via various destinations.

Fifty-two people were killed and over 700 injured when British youths detonated four bombs in London during the rush hour on 7 July 2005. Lives were lost or changed forever.

Chris Allen of the University of Birmingham told HT “As we approach the 10th anniversary of the 7/7 terror attacks, attention will rightly focus on the sheer horror of the unfolding events and the tragic loss of life. The legacy left by these events has, however, been more far-reaching than expected, having a profound impact on how we go about our everyday lives”.

“From more security checks at airports and increased monitoring of social media, to new counter-terror measures requiring public sector workers to play a greater role in combating extremism and schools being required to teach ‘British values’, the impact has been significant”, he said.

However, Allen said that the greatest impact was in terms of Britain’s multiculturalism.

“Blamed by some for having created a raft of different social problems, the past decade has seen many, including David Cameron, call for the death of multiculturalism. The consequences of this can be seen in research showing that as well as people becoming less tolerant of each other, levels of racism are at a 20-year high”.

The British news media have been focussing on the tenth anniversary with interviews of people affected, including officials who dealt with the incidents.