Britain commemorates 2005 London bombings

LONDON—As Britain commemorates the 10th anniversary of the nation’s most deadly domestic terror attack, U.K. authorities say that the country needs to strengthen its counterterrorism and surveillance capabilities to keep pace with a rapidly changing extremist threat.

On Tuesday, British Prime Minister David Cameron joined survivors and families of those who died when four homegrown Islamic suicide bombers attacked London’s public transport during the morning rush hour on July 7, 2005. The bombings killed 52 people and injured hundreds more. There was a notable police presence around central London, where the commemoration events were taking place.

The 2005 attacks—the first major attack by Islamic extremists on British soil—ushered in a new age of counterterrorism in the U.K., sparking an institutional wake-up call in a nation that had considered itself an experienced hand in dealing with extremism, given its decades of warfare against violent Irish republicans. British officials say they have since foiled about 50 terrorist plots, preventing another major terror attack.

But British security and intelligence officials warn their job has become more difficult as the geographical threat has diversified, to include militant group Islamic State in Syria and Boko Haram in Nigeria, in addition to al Qaeda-related groups. The methods of attack have also expanded. That includes the risk of armed gunmen opening fire in public places, as illustrated by last month’s attack in Tunisia when an armed gunman attacked a hotel, leaving 30 British people among the 38 people killed.

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