LONDON: UK prime minister Boris Johnson led tributes on Tuesday to 52 victims of the July 7 bombings to mark the 15th anniversary of the terror attack in London.
Four suicide bombers struck three London Underground trains and a double-decker bus at sites across the British capital — on the Circle Line near Aldgate and Edgware Road, the Piccadilly Line near Russell Square and Tavistock Square — in coordinated strikes in 2005.
As well as the 52 fatalities, more than 700 people were injured in the attacks.
In a video statement Johnson said: “No one who was in London on July 7, 2005, will ever forget what they experienced that day.
“And for those directly affected by what happened; the loved ones of the 52 victims; the hundreds who suffered physical injury, mental trauma; the emergency services and Tube staff who rushed to help and witnessed truly horrific scenes; the passage of time will have done little to numb the pain they feel.
“While all such anniversaries are difficult, I know this one will be especially hard. At times like this, people want to be able to come together, to be together, to remember and to reflect together. But the ongoing pandemic means that can’t happen as it normally would.
“When this city was attacked by those who sought to divide us, London responded with the simple truth: That whoever you are, wherever you are from, whatever the colour of your skin or the God you worship, if you choose to come to London and make your life here, then you are a Londoner,” he added.
London’s mayor Sadiq Khan also paid tribute to the victims, survivors and the emergency services who responded to the attacks.
“Today we honour the 52 people who lost their lives and more than 700 who were injured on July 7, 2005. Our capital will never forget the terrible events of that day, and my thoughts are with all those whose lives were changed forever,” he said.
“As we mark 15 years since the attack on our city, I want again to pay tribute to the heroic efforts of our emergency services and transport workers, who ran towards danger to save lives, on that awful day.
“The way that our city responded and stood united in the aftermath of the attack showed the world that our values of decency, tolerance and mutual respect will always overcome the hate of the terrorists.
“Today, we reaffirm our commitment to upholding these values. To those who wish to divide us and spread hatred, we send a clear message that they will never succeed, and that we are stronger together,” he added.
Heir to the British throne Prince Charles also sent a video message of remembrance, saying: “That such dreadfully barbaric atrocities should be perpetrated on the streets of our capital was an assault on us all, and on everything we stand for as a nation.”
“For the victims, and for you, their loved ones, the horror of that day was total. 52 people were cruelly robbed of their lives, nearly 800 people were injured, families were torn apart, and the most unimaginable pain and grief was visited upon so many of you.
He added: “I can only begin to imagine, therefore, how agonising it must be for you that you are unable to gather today. It seems so desperately cruel that the pandemic should have denied you this occasion to see and to hold each other, and to be together as you mourn and remember.”