Help
BBC OnePanorama

MORE PROGRAMMES

Page last updated at 13:51 GMT, Wednesday, 13 July 2005 14:51 UK

Programme transcript

What follows is a transcript of A Panorama Special - London under attack, first broadcast Sunday 10 July 2005, 22:15 BST on BBC One.

This should be checked against transmission for accuracy and to ensure the clear identification of individual speakers.

MAN: I just remember being turned twisted. Not knowing what was happening and being pushed back on the ground.

WOMAN: There was a bit of smoke pouring in and there was sort of this horrible smell and I could really feel it going down my throat.

MAN: I just heard ghastly screaming, in the distance. and the mobile went dead.

MAN: I just kept hearing the screams from the carriage next door.

PETER TAYLOR - REPORTER: On Thursday, what Londoners had long been told to expect, happened. The capital came under attack. The death toll now climbs beyond 50 - with hundreds more injured, some critically.

Many were not surprised. I've spent the past year investigating the way Al Qaeda has changed, taking the Madrid train bombings as an illustration. For London, it was only a matter of time. Madrid may well have been the blueprint. Both attacks bear the bloody hallmark of the New Al Qaeda.

Before Thursday, life carried on as usual. There were some who claimed the threat was hyped by government to justify increasing curbs on civil liberties.

On Thursday the nightmare became real.

Over a year ago, I interviewed Scotland Yard's Head of Counter-Terrorism. His words still ring in my ears.

DAVID VENESS: A danger remains. There will be an attack, and I fear it is when within the United Kingdom. I think the 'if' is academic.

TAYLOR: The list of the dead and injured reflects the diversity of London. There were Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus, Jews, Christians - and those of other denominations and those of none.

A terrorist bomb does not discriminate.

AMBULANCE: Can everyone please remain calm, as soon as we are ready to evacuate we'll get everybody off.

MAN: Can you walk along please, keep walking along.

TAYLOR: Now London shares kinship with Madrid. A year last March, terrorists hit early morning commuters as they arrived at Atocha station.

There were four explosions. 191 people were killed - hundreds more injured. The Madrid bombers struck just before eight - the London bombers, an hour later. In both cases, no warning was given.

The chilling similarities between London and Madrid appear to suggest a common hand. That's why Madrid may help us understand London - and who may have been responsible. It's telling that Spanish police have now arrived in the capital to share the lessons that they've learned.

As trials begin in Spain, it's become clear that the threat is now from a new generation of Islamist extremists. They're the new Al Qaeda - streetwise, young and home- grown - committed to waging global Jihad - that's Holy War against America and her allies. The UK is high on their list. MANOLO NAVARRETE (Head of International Intelligence, Guardia Civil): They were using local people, nobody well-trained, in a very simplistic way but very successfully. This is a change for us because our main priority was to identify an attack like the 11th September or the Bali bombing or something quite sophisticated.

TAYLOR: Jamal Ahmidan was a typical member of the Madrid cell - a drug dealer with a long criminal record. He was radicalised in gaol in Morocco.

MANOLO NAVARRETE: Jamal Ahmidan was a crook, he was a common criminal with not specially distinguishing for other reasons but I think he was a very committed criminal, a person who had a clear idea about what he wanted to do.

TAYLOR: Ahmidan lived life in the fast lane. He travelled through Europe with 15 different IDs - trafficking Ecstasy, Cocaine and Moroccan hash.

He smoked, drank and roared round Madrid with his girlfriend - and was a fanatical supporter of Real Madrid. It wasn't surprising he slipped under the radar of Spain's secretive intelligence services.

JOSE CABANILLAS-SANCHEZ (Chief of Police Intelligence): We'd never have imagined that a mere drug trafficker would turn into an Islamic suicide bomber and get involved in an attack like this.

TAYLOR: The idea that the London bombers would have stood out as they boarded buses and trains because of their distinctive beards and Islamic robes, no longer applies.

Key members of the Madrid cell had become whats known as Takfiris. They dressed like westerners and did what many Westerners do. They smoked, drank and did drugs. But behind the facade, they were undercover jihaddis bent on killing infidels - that's anyone who rejects their rigid interpretation of the Koran.

Much of the best intelligence on Takfiris was gleaned in Morocco by the General who heads its internal security service. His teams tracked down and interrogated those behind another series of bombings - in Casablanca, almost a year before Madrid. He gave an early warning about Takfiris.

GEN. HAMIDOU LAANIGRI (Chief of Moroccan Internal Security)[Translation voiced by actor]: Al Qaeda's new members have to stick to a dress code. To start with, you have to wear a beard and a long tunic. You only go to the next stage and dress in normal clothes when you go on active service. That's to help you blend in to go underground. So it's when they change their clothes that we know they're ready for action and have the potential for violence.

TAYLOR: Laanigri warned Madrid about the new threat but little was done. As a result Spanish intelligence missed a number of clues that might have prevented the bombings.

They hadn't grasped how much Al Qaeda had changed.

Ahmidan even had the nerve to do a drug deal - barely three months before the train bombings. It ended with him shooting a man outside a bar. No alarm bells rang.

MANOLO NAVARRETE (Head of International Intelligence, Guardia Civil): He has a shooting with another drug trafficker in order to obtain some money from him.

TAYLOR: He shot him?

NAVARETTE: Yeah

TAYLOR: Isn't that risky, if you're part of a terrorist cell, to go around shooting people you want money from?

NAVARETTE: Yeah. By that time, January of the year 2004, we estimate that the group was already fully integrated. Maybe we were focussed on a more sophisticated attack. Very well organised, very well prepared and a clear Al Qaeda bombing attack - ,type of attack, coming from Al Qaeda.

TAYLOR: The scenes and sounds of London were a frightening echo of Madrid.

The injured were taken to hospital - many with horrific injuries. Torn, blasted, burned and whipped by flying glass.

Some had a miraculous escape.

Michael Henning was on the tube train between Liverpool Street and Aldgate.

MICHAEL HENNING: I thought I wasn't going to get out of this, whatever it was I didn't know, I thought that was it went it went all so dark.

TAYLOR: Like thousands of other Londoners Michael found that walking was the only way to get home. BOY: You're lucky mate¿ 33 dead people so far¿ how long were you there for?

MICHAEL: About twenty five minutes.

BOY: Did you have to walk through the tunne?

MICHAEL: Yeah we walked through the tunnel and came up to Aldgate. CAROLINE CHROBOK: No, this is blood,

REPORTER: Its not yours is it?

CAROLINE CHROBOK: No, like, There's blood all over me, bits of glass and debris in my hair. My hair's all singed.

TAYLOR: After only an hour, Caroline Chrobok was also allowed out of hospital, her ear drums perforated by the bomb on the Piccadilly Line train between Kings Cross and Russell Square.

She's an office manager and had been hurrying to begin her day's work. CAROLINE CHROBOK: Like I had to sort of push my way through to get on it and then you're just standing there and then the next minute it's just... you know. I mean I was literally... I was waiting to die, I was thinking okay that's it, I'm dead. There was a woman, she was screaming, another guy was saying he couldn't breathe, I mean because there was a bit of smoke pouring in and it was sort of this horrible smell and I could really feel it going down my throat. Yeah.. and there was the guy with the head injury, he thought he was going to die.

HENNING: I'm walking somewhere around...

TAYLOR: Michael's walk home took him through the east end. The large Muslim community here had begun to offer support to the victims.

DIRECTOR OF MOSQUE: Hi there... Can I offer you a cup of tea...

HENNING: I have one... I have one brewing actually, thank you very much... for your offer to get a drink, thank you.

MAN: Were you in the train ¿.?

HENNING : I was in the front of the carriage.. the bomb was at the rear of the carriage..

BOY: How did it feel in the train when you were bombed?

HENNING: I didn't feel the physical pain to start with, I saw a very bright light, an orangey yellow light, what appeared to be silver sort of lines, which was the glass, flying through the air, and I remember just being turned, and twisted, not knowing what was happening, and pushed down onto the ground, falling down, and then it was all very dark, very quiet, I touched my face and felt the blood obviously. There was just so much glass, it's a surprise, there's loads still in my pocket, some of it was just dust, there was larger chunks which came flying through, just glad it didn't hit anywhere that was vital really.

TAYLOR: All over the world, there've been thousands of victims like Michael since Al Qaeda first launched its large scale attacks.

The intelligence services grew to know their enemy and its personnel after years of analysis. They understood its structure, training and operational methods. But that was the old AQ.

Afghanistan was the old Al Qaeda's hub. Before September 11th, Jihadi recruits came to train in its camps. They then returned to fight on behalf of their muslim brothers theatres like Bosnia, Chechnya, and Kashmir.

Salim Boukari was one of the older generation of Jihadis who trained in Afghanistan - though he says he was never a member of Al Qaeda. I interviewed him in gaol.

PETER TAYLOR: What did the training consist of?

SALIM BOUKHARI - Well there's different training. You start training with Kalashnikovs, after the Kalashnikovs you go to the RPG.

TAYLOR: Boukhari gives us a rare insight into the way that jihadis plan their attacks, originally he wanted to fight his jihad in Chechnya, but when he found he couldn't get there, he became part of a cell planning an attack in Strasbourg, this is the recce video. The prosecution said the target was the Christmas market, Boukhari told me it was not. One of the questions Londoners will ask is how did the perpetrators get hold of bomb making materials? It's not that difficult, Boukhari just went round German chemist shops.

What do you look like, how were you dressed?

BOUKHARI I was dressed as a European.

TAYLOR: Suit?

BOUKHARI Suit, yes, of course.

TAYLOR: Collar, tie?

BOUKHARI Very nice.

Respectable.

BOUKHARI Yes.

So people wouldn't suspect you.

BOUKHARI Of course.

PETER TAYLOR British Jihadis also went to the camps. Richard Reid and Sajid Badat planned to blow up passenger jets. Reid was foiled. Badat, a middle class grammar school boy from Gloucester, had a last minute change of heart.

PETER CLARKE (Head, Anti-terrorist branch, Metropolitan Police): If Sajid Badat with all the advantages he had in life chose to take that route which could easily have led to the deaths of hundreds of people, of course we have got to be worried whether other young men might fall under the same influences he did.

PETER TAYLOR: Do you think he may just be a one off?

CLARKE: I think it unlikely that he is a one off, I hope very much that he is, but we have to be realistic and assume that there could be others

TAYLOR: After September 11, US forces destroyed the Jihadi training camps in Afghanistan. The New Al Qaeda arose from the debris and the dust. The message was return and fight jihad at home.

America's overall commander in Afghanistan and Iraq knows Al Qaeda's global threat.

Has the structure of Al-Qaeda changed?

Lt Gen JOHN ABIZAID (Commander, US Central Command): The structure has certainly changed it has had to change because so much damage has been made to the structure, but I think it's also clear that they have become more decentralised. they've developed a style of leadership where franchises will take more action that's essentially action that the local leader decides on for himself

MICHAEL SHEUER (Former Head CIA Bin Laden Unit): Bin Laden has always been very clear that he and Al-Qaeda can't do this alone, that they need to enlist other Muslims to join them, against the United States, and he's always said that al-Qaeda's first role is inciter and instigator rather than command and control.

PETER TAYLOR:: MI5 knows this too and is almost certainly considering the possibility that the attacks may have been carried out by a small local group with no apparent connection to Al Qaeda. That may explain why the cell got under the wire. There was not a scrap of intelligence. No tell tale 'chatter' over the airwaves.

MI5's counterparts in Madrid were equally blind. [PAUSE] It was only later that they discovered that this Jihadi on videotape was the drug dealer, Jamal Ahmidan. They'd never realised until then that he was a terrorist. He's claiming responsibility for the Madrid bombings on behalf of 'Al Qaeda in Europe'.

MASKED MAN: We declare our responsibility for what happened in Madrid¿ a response to your collaboration with the criminals Bush and his allies. This is a response to the crimes that you have caused in the world, and specifically in Iraq and Afghanistan, and there will be more, if God wills it.

TAYLOR: The direct reference to Iraq was a further warning to the British police who were now coming to terms with the new decentralised Al Qaeda and what it might mean for London and the UK. PETER CLARK: What we are looking at is something which is much more fluid, more flexible, more mobile and so with that obviously comes all the associated difficulties of finding, investigating, detecting and ultimately of course prosecuting.

TAYLOR: If you look at the attacks in Madrid and Casablanca, those attacks were carried out by home grown autonomous cells, what does that tell you about the way in which things have changed?

CLARKE As time has come on we have found that we have been investigating groups of British citizens and that is obviously a great cause for concern and exploring the international linkages of those groups of British citizens.

TAYLOR: I interviewed Peter Clarke a few months ago. Britain's contribution to the US coalition in Iraq was far greater than Spain's. The anti-terrorist branch were already thinking of a Madrid style attack in London.

On Thursday fter leaving the mosque, Michael manages to find a lift to take him closer to home where he hopes to meet his girlfriend. Al Qaeda's brand of Islam is not what he's found among the East End Muslim community.

MICHAEL HENNING: How I was treated in the Mosque today was really uplifting, to know that people, that it's not their fault, there has always been extremists always been people that who don't represent the main body of people who are decent people. TAYLOR: Now he can finally contact his family, and arrange where to meet them.

HENNING: Sylvia, I'm coming back now, Where do you suggest?

TAYLOR: And pick up his voicemail - Michael's story has already reached a wide audience.

HENNING: My girlfriend's brother just ringing from Barcelona, he's just seen it on CNN and saw me... and just sending their love really. That was just one of my ex-bosses just left a message to say he heard me on the radio and wishing me all the best.

EMERGENCY SERVICES: Stay where you are please ladies and gentlemen.

TAYLOR: For Caroline, still in shock, the physical reminders of what she went through just won't go away.

CAROLINE CHROBOK: I just want to wash all this shit off me¿ that smell I just keep smelling it's horrendous ¿really awful.

TAYLOR: Eight hours after the bombings¿

SYLVIA: [embracing Michael] Look at .the State of you

TAYLOR: Michael's reunited with his family. In the gridlocked city, emotional reunions were taking place in the most unlikely places.

SYLVIA: [to child]¿.Its all right baby, every thing is going to fine.

CHROBOK: I would like to know who's responsible I really would and I hope they will find out what exactly happened.

PETER TAYLOR: Ferocious anger lies behind the bombings - and not just on the part of the victims. Anger too drives the bombers and their sympathisers- most recently over Iraq.

We filmed in Regents Park mosque last November, the night the Americans stormed Fallujah. It fired the blood of groups of radical young muslims who'd taken over the courtyard of the mosque.

MAN: The obligation is jihad. We need to rise the sword and we need to have the heads rolling we need more American soldiers, we need more British soldiers we want them killed.

PETER TAYLOR: The 'rolling heads' refer to the brutal beheading videos emerging on the internet from Iraq.

MAN: Its up to you the Muslims to decide which camp you gonna side with. Side with George Bush, with the kaffirs and leaders of middle east and Asia or side with mujahids sheik Osama and Zarqawi. TAYLOR: Iraq is now the frontline for the new al-Qaeda. For a new generation of jihadis it offers training, action and world wide publicity for their cause. Iraq, not Afghanistan, is the new AQ's hub - and now joins Palestine as the Jihadis' justification for terrorist attacks all over the world.

Is Iraq the new jihad?

BOUKHARI: Yes. I think so. I think so. I mean by the duty of the Muslim they have to get the American and the British out from Iraq. I mean they said we want to finish Saddam. They finished Saddam. Saddam is finished. So why they staying there for? No reason.

TAYLOR: Mike Sheuer has spent much of his career with the CIA analysing Bin Laden.

SCHEUER: What they have done since 9/11 and especially since the support the United States got in Afghanistan and in Iraq is to sort of launch warning attacks against those countries that are helping us in those two places.

TAYLOR: Like Madrid?

SCHEUER: Like Madrid, the Italians at Nasariah, the British in Istanbul, the French in Karachi and the Limberg off of Yemen, the Germans in Tunisia, some Japanese diplomats were killed in Iraq. Virtually¿ at one point Bin Laden and (Zowahiri?) had named 23 countries that deserved to be punished for helping the Americans either in Afghanistan in Iraq.. or Iraq, and all 23 of those countries have been hit, ¿

TAYLOR: At around 08:50 am, an explosion in the third carriage of a Circle line train between Liverpool St and Aldgate killed seven people and seriously injured at least ten others. Among the commuters was a young Muslim - Mustafa Kurtuldu, a 24 year old graphic designer.

He was on his way to a business meeting at the Home Office when the train exploded. Although unhurt, he had to wait in the blackness as the carriage filled with smoke. Some passengers panicked. It was 30 minutes before rescue came.

MUSTAFA KURTULDU: We got onto the actual track to start walking back around to Aldgate platform. Going past we saw the carriage which actually had the blast in it, I mean that was completely gutted. I saw someone on the floor, they were covered in soot. Alive, dead, I don't know.

Religious leaders in the mixed East End community around Aldgate were swift to demonstrate unity.

But fears of a backlash were heightened when just a few hours later, a local mosque was attacked. its windows were smashed.

KAMAL ZEMAN: The downfall is that the wider community don't understand Islam, how Islam means peace, it does not mean terror. HODA YASIN: People looking at you different thinking that Muslim people did this, but we don't know who did this and whoever did it they aren't Muslim., they're not true believers, cos Islam means peace. KAMAL ZAMAN: The right people need to be arrested not the Muslim who has got the beard, the Islamic dress, not be arrested for nothing because they look like that. And arrested and labelled as a terrorist...

TAYLOR: But even among the victims of the London bombings, there were many who believed the causes of the violence were political.

CAROLINE CHROBOK If the reason that this has happened is because of what happened in Iraq, then.. you know.. it just makes it even more wrong because it wasn't.. it wasn't the nation's decision as a whole to go to war and I'm sure a lot of people were against it. I know I personally was against it because I don't think it solved anything.

KURTULDU: If the war in Iraq we hadn't been involved on, do you think it would have really happened? I mean would it have happened? I'm not saying that justifies anything, the target was made London because of Tony Blair's insistence is to follow Bush around and I think he should resign.

Rt Rev STEPHEN OLIVER (Bishop of Stepney): The faith communities represented here are united for condemning this outrageous act of terror and we stand together in mutual support at this difficult time.

TAYLOR: Some Jihadi supporters have twisted the news coverage of Thursday's attacks to their own propaganda advantage. And the internet carries their message that it's revenge for Iraq.

And it's the internet, the World Wide Web that, drives the radicalising power of Iraq. Few attacks take place without a camcorder, computer and internet access - to send the images spinning around the world. In Britain there's an audience too.

EVAN KOHLMAN While a picture may be worth a thousand words, a video, uploaded to an internet site, is worth 10,000.

TAYLOR: Evan Kohlman studies the internet traffic from Iraq for clients that include the US government.

EVAN KOHLMANN US Government Advisor You show a video of someone blowing themselves up, killing Americans, spreading American blood. That has an incalculable effect in terms of recruiting future terrorists.

TAYLOR: The videos of slaughter and beheadings, many too gruesome to show, play a central role in radicalising young muslims. Many are made by followers of Abu Musab al Zarqawi, AQ's leader in Iraq.

We monitored the response to Thursday's attacks on islamist websites - these were some of the postings.

MAN: They are the lions of Al Qaeda. Osama has sent them. They are the soldiers of God. London you have paid a good part of the price of what you owe for your war against Islam and Muslims. I hope with all my heart that the heroic lions of Al Qaeda are behind this because this has cooled our hearts, at least those that elected that pig Blair for a second term can be punished, some of them slaughtered and in their own capital.

TAYLOR: This Saudi dissident operates a website, quite legally, on which Iraqi videos and claims of responsibility from Zarqawi's media operation are posted. He operates from Wembley. A posting on his website was one of several that claimed responsibility for the London bombs. I spoke to him before the attacks.

DR AL MASSARI: You upload it to a trusted site and the guy who is waiting for it to be uploaded and checking every few hours will download it immediately to wherever he wants.

PETER TAYLOR: And it just spreads?

Dr MUHAMMAD AL-MASSARI: It just spreads like fire in dry wood, its unbelievable. So that's really one of the most massive propaganda, and you know human beings, if you see an enemy tank being blown in pieces, it gives you enormous feeling of satisfaction and also encouragement to do the same.

TAYLOR: Do you really think that a young Muslim accessing this material in an internet café will say I want to go and do the same, I want to go and fight?

MASSARI: I think so, I think so. It's very mobilising.

TAYLOR: There is some evidence that jihadis have left the UK to fight and possibly train in Iraq. Nobody knows in what numbers.

Do you believe that young British Muslims are leaving the UK and going to fight with the insurgents in Iraq? PETER CLARKE (Anti-Terrorist Branch, Met Police): There is evidence that some we don't know the precise numbers, could very well be very small, there is evidence that some young British men are, have left the United Kingdom with the intention of going to Iraq.

TAYLOR: But there would have been no need for Thursday's bombers to travel to learn how to make explosives.

Would be jihadis just have to log on., Training videos are there at the click of a mouse, with detailed instructions of how to make and detonate bombs, carry out kidnappings and make home made weapons.

These images were found on the hard drive of a suspect allegedly to be connected to the Madrid conspirators. The train bombs were detonated by alarms on mobile phones.

EVAN KOHLMANN (US Government Adviser): Even at home you have a how to guide to terrorism available at the touch of a button, how to build a suicide bomb vest, how to build a suicide car bomb, the motivation and the tools to commit terror.

MICHAEL SCHEUER (Former Head, CIA Bin Laden Unit): They mounted a great number of these things, one of them called the Encyclopaedia of Jihad, it's apparently about 12,000 pages long, based primarily on US and British Special Forces and Marine Corps manuals. You can now, in the comfort of your home download those parts of the manual you want to study, whether it's bomb making or small unit combat tactics.

KOHLMANN: In fact, It is the terrorists who have the technological advantage when it comes to the internet - it is the terrorists were able to mysteriously move through the internet without being detected, without being seen by law enforcement, and able to distribute these materials in many cases without any consequences happening to them.

TAYLOR: Let's just have a look at one of the websites which is on the forum attached to your website. You tell me what it is.

MASSARI: Well this is essentially it's a magazine. The word Battar originally means 'amputate', so they amputate, but this is the name of the sword because the sword has various names in Arabic.

TAYLOR: And what's the purpose of Al Battar?

MASSARI: The purposes of Battar is to assist the jihadi with education, information including even arms information, G3.. description of the G3 gun etceteras, so it contains intellectual articles and contains also issues about weapons etceteras.

TAYLOR: It's like a jihadi do it yourself correspondence course.

AL-MASSARI: And it's also.... recently someone was able to snatch away the American manuals about light arms and demolition and he distributed that also in the internet.

TAYLOR: But a young Muslim could read this, train from it, because it's an on line correspondence course in jihad, go to Iraq, use the weapons against British soldiers, in other words he has learned from what is attached to your website, how to attack British soldiers, don't you feel uncomfortable with that?

AL-MASSARI: No, I don't feel uncomfortable because if he decide he will relinquish his citizenship and leave the country and join the jihad, that's his right, his privilege, he will be no British citizen any more, he will be at war with Britain and that's the possible choice.

TAYLOR: These streets around the bomb sites were eerily deserted, at some stage they will return to normal, but can the same be said of those who've lost loved ones or still suffering after what they've been through?

CAROLINE CHROBOK: I've been thinking about how my life is going to turn to normal now and I just, I just can't see beyond this, at the moment this is all consuming, it's all I think about, I mean it's all that's going on right now..

TAYLOR: Two days on from the bombs and Michael's physical scars are healing but the psychological trauma will not go away.

MICHAEL HENNING: A roller coaster at the moment, just keep hearing the screams from the carriage next door... it just keeps coming back.

SYLVIA: It must have felt like forever.

HENNING: It was, it did. It seemed like ages down there, just... it's just a sense of loneliness, but when I get the images back it's just like I'm down there on my own looking at these people and not being allowed to get to them.

SYLVIA : Yeah.

HENNING: I still can't take it in that I'm involved.

SYLVIA: No, I can't, I can't.

HENNING: It just seems so strange.

CHROBOK: You know it's going to be a long time before I can forget this definitely, but I know I have to get back out there, I have to fight it, to fight the fear,

HENNING: Just gets the images and that just chokes me up, it's just a fact I was so close to where it exploded, that I never thought that anyone would be that close, and just walk away

SYLVIA: No

HENNING: And I just keep thinking how lucky and of those poor people in the next carriage and their families, what they must feel, I just hope for them.

CHROBOK : I cannot live in fear I just can't do that, that's just the wrong thing to do, then these people have succeeded, and I won't let that happen.

MICHAEL: I have a few tears, but I think there's a guilt a feeling of guilt there, I know I'm very lucky.

TAYLOR: The surprise to many Londoners is that the capital had not been targeted before. One of the reasons is that through much of the previous decade, the capital had been a refuge for foreign jihadis. It was as if there were an unspoken deal. We don't arrest them and they don't attack us.

Some Muslims called it a 'covenant of security', that if you're a guest in a country, you don't do it harm.

Salim Boukari moved here from Paris in the early 90s because the climate was better - and he didn't mean the weather.

What did your friends tell you about England, why did they suggest you went there?

SALIM BOUKHARI (Interviewed in German prison): Well they say it's quite... it's better than France or [unclear] and you can live there without no papers and you don't need to have papers you know, it's not like... I mean if you are in France if you come out for to drink or something, the police will come to you, give me your papers, but in England they don't do stuff like this.

TAYLOR: But that era is over. It's another sign of how Al Qaeda has changed.

The problem in the 90s was they were not doing anything actively against the UK and therefore it made it really quite difficult for you to do anything if you had a mind to do so.

DAVID VENESS (Head Specialist Operations, Metropolitan Police, 2004): Yes, I mean that is a... I think part of the process of evolution that what we're now seeing is unequivocally those groups are engaged in targeting within the United Kingdom.

TAYLOR: So if Scotland Yard knew that, why didn't they prevent Thursday's attack? It's not that simple. The security services believe they've prevented several attacks - up to half a dozen we were told. Juries will decide the strength of the evidence when cases come to court.

PETER CLARKE (Head, Anti-Terrorist Branch, Metropolitan Police): What we have learnt in the past 3 or 4 years is that there has been considerable amount of terrorist activity in this country both in terms ofsupport and in terms of intentions to mount actual attacks so I think the only sensible conclusion to draw is that the threat is very real.

TAYLOR: The so-called covenant of security clearly died some time ago. The North London cleric, Omar Bakri spelled it out for his followers less than six weeks ago - He began by reading a message from insurgency in Iraq.

OMAR BAKRI: In the last 24 hours we increased our attack to on the enemy to the level yesterday of 120 operations.

LISTENERS: Allah Akbar!. OMAR BAKRI: Nowadays there is nothing called covenant of securities in the 21st century therefore the Muslims has to as the one camp fight against the kuffur as the one camp. That is the new reality.

TAYLOR: As yet we don't know how the London bombers trained and operated - how they were motivated and how they used the internet. No doubt more will become clear over the coming weeks.

But there is one last ominous warning from Madrid. The bombers did commit suicide but only when cornered by the police.

The train bombings were never intended as a one off. The plan, discovered on the cell's computer found by police, indicated a range of future, high profile targets - like Real Madrid's stadium. Only then did they intend to martyr themselves.

The plans of the Madrid bombers - and their own fate - raises disturbing questions for London and the rest of the UK. Where is the cell? Will it attack again? And is suicide part of the plan?

How real is the threat from a suicide bomber in the UK?

DAVID VENESS: One needs to look at that again from the terrorist agenda. A terrorist sees a suicide bombing attempt as an entirely realistic, pragmatic, relatively economical means of delivering mass murder to a particular location with a degree of precision.

TAYLOR: Detectives are not yet in a position to say if the attack on the number 30 bus was the work of a suicide bomber but there are suspicions that it was. If so, it would mark a dramatic new departure.

Two years ago, two British Moslems, Omar Sharif and Asif Hanif, died after a suicide attack on a bar - but that was in Israel not England. A suicide bomb on British not foreign soil would mark a dramatic escalation of the threat in the UK.

Yasser al Sirri, an Egyptian exile in Britain, is one of the most outspoken champions of Jihad, but he's selective in what he condones.

YASSER AL SIRRI (Translation voiced by actor): This could have happened in revenge for Blair's policies in Iraq which have caused some groups to fight the British forces in Iraq because they are occupiers and are allied with the American forces but that does not justify carrying out such an act against innocent British civilians.

PETER TAYLOR: But innocent civilians did die in London, and some were quick to point the finger at the city's large Muslim community. Yet two of the bombs went off in Muslim neighbourhoods - with many families deeply affected. Muslim leaders condemned the atrocities, with prayers for the victims said in mosques across Britain on Friday. There were concerns that Muslims would be blamed for the work of extremists.

Dr MUHAMMAD ABDUL BARI (DIRECTOR, EAST LONDON MOSQUE): Muslims, non-Muslims wider society we all are victims of this atrocity so I don't think it does not come to my mind. We have been speaking against any form of terrorism whether it's done by any individual, by any group or any state.

TAYLOR: And the East London Mosque, just a few minutes from Aldgate, experienced its own tragedy on Thursday - a young woman now missing, most likely dead.

DR KAMRUL HASSAN (UNCLE) Her name is Shahara Aktar Islam and she's a 20 year old young female - she was essentially on her way to work.

TAYLOR: Four days after the attacks, the family still have no news of Shahara - knowing only that she was apparently in the vicinity of the bombs - and she hasn't been heard from since.

JAMSHAD ALI (GRANDFATHER) My grand daughter when she was young you know... I.... all the time look after her... I'm feeling very bad.

DR KAMRUL HASSAN - (UNCLE) She carries 2 mobile phones with her there was no reply all through the day from any of the phones - she never reached work. And unfortunately it's looking increasingly likely that we'll probably be getting bad news regarding her.

SHAMSUL ISLAM (FATHER) My brother said it all I have no words to say I just hope she returns home.

TAYLOR: Casualties came from many faiths and communities across London.

Anat Rosenberg usually took the tube to work - but just before the explosion, she called her partner telling him she was on the number 30 bus.

JOHN FALDING (ANAT ROSENBERG'S PARTNER ): I just heard ghastly screaming and the mobile went dead and of course I tried to ring her, just went to voicemail. And shortly afterwards it was clear from the television that the bus.. a bus, I couldn't believe it was hers, had been attacked. And so I sent a voicemail message saying: "Get off the bus, get off the bus" but I don't know if she ever got it.

TAYLOR: Anat Rosenberg was an Israeli who had been living in London for most of the last eighteen years. John Falding says Anat felt safe in the capital. JOHN FALDING: She had this phobia about bus bombings in Israel and she put off visiting Israel even though her parents were there because she just feared that.. you know.. getting on a bus in Israel, and the irony that this should happen here in our only bus bombing and she should be on it is.. is just incredible.

TAYLOR: The painful search for the missing will go on until all are found. In their hearts families fear the dreadful outcome. At the same time another search goes on to find those responsible for Thursday's carnage. The police are equally determined to find them.

No one knows what will happen between now and then.



SEE ALSO
Q&A with Peter Taylor
13 Jul 05 |  Panorama


FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


banner watch listen bbc sport Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific