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July 7th 2005 London Bombings

MI5 'blunders let Tube bomber slip away'

telegraph | 26th October 05 | original url: here

The man believed to be the ringleader of the four London suicide bombers had extensive contacts with al-Qa'eda extremists and should have been intercepted by MI5, the BBC claimed last night.

A report said that a succession of intelligence failures had allowed Mohammad Sidique Khan, who detonated a device on a train at Edgware Road station on July 7, to "slip away'' after briefly coming under scrutiny.

Khan, 30, from Dewsbury, West Yorks, was subject to a routine assessment by the security service because of an indirect connection to a suspect in an alleged terror plot in 2004.

The BBC claimed that he was secretly filmed and recorded speaking to the suspect. Khan was one of hundreds investigated but who was not judged a risk to warrant further surveillance.

Whitehall officials said a judgment had to be taken on the use of scarce surveillance resources and those who now criticised the decisions had the benefit of hindsight.

The BBC further alleged that when Khan travelled to Pakistan in 2003 he met an Islamic extremist who later admitted to being a "fixer" for al-Qa'eda. The report also alleged that Khan travelled to Malaysia and the Philippines in 2001 to meet leaders from the extremist Islamist group Jemaah Islamiyah.

The BBC report said that if MI5 had made a proper study of Khan's background when he came under scrutiny as a result of his links to the other terror case, his extremism would have been apparent.

Philip Johnston

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