London 7/7 bombers might have been plotting to target Olympic bid crowd

THE July 7 terror attacks might have the day before, targeting crowds in London celebrating the capital becoming host of the 2012 Olympics, an inquest has heard.

But their bid to wreak havoc might have been postponed after one of the bombers accompanied his wife to a hospital appointment.

Hugo Keith, QC, the lead counsel to the inquests into the deaths of the 52 victims, said that Mohammad Sidique Khan, the ringleader, sent a text message to Shezhad Tanweer, one of his three co-conspirators, at 4.35am on July 6, 2005, apparently abandoning a meeting.

It read: “Having major problem. Can’t make time. Will ring you when I get it sorted. Wait at home.”

Khan had visited Dewsbury Hospital with his wife, Hasina Patel, on July 5 because she had pregnancy complications. She miscarried on the day of the bombings.

Mr Keith said: “So it may have been that the attack was originally planned for a different day.”

If the attacks had occurred 24 hours earlier they would have been carried out in the hours before huge crowds gathered in Trafalgar Square to celebrate London’s Olympic bid win.

Mr Keith also suggested that the four bombers may have initially targeted different stations, including Westminster, Paddington and Notting Hill.

A piece of paper recovered from inside the passport of Jermaine Lindsay, one of the bombers, mentioned journey times to Paddington, Westminster and Bond Street.

However, their plans could have changed when they joined a train into Central London that was delayed.

In his opening to the inquests, which is expected to last until Wednesday, Mr Keith said that the bombings on three Underground trains and a Number 30 bus “unleashed an unimaginable tidal wave of shock, misery and horror”.

Lady Justice Hallett, the Coroner, will investigate whether the emergency services could have done more to help victims after their response was delayed due to confusion.

The inquests, which were adjourned in 2006 due to criminal proceedings relating to the attacks, will also examine whether they could have been prevented.

Some survivors and families of victims believe that MI5 should have taken action after Khan and Tanweer were seen meeting a known terrorist under surveillance.

However, Mr Keith warned: “Even had the Security Service pursued and identified them, even if they had been subjected to some sort of interference by way of continued surveillance, arrest or perhaps a control order … it cannot necessarily be supposed that the events of July 7 would have been prevented.”

Mr Keith gave details of how the bombers travelled to London on the day of the bombings. In new evidence he revealed that Lindsay received a parking ticket as he slept in his car while waiting for the other three plotters at Luton train station.

The other three bombers had travelled from Leeds and a witness, who lived near the factory where they made their bombs, saw a white car and six Asian males outside at about 4am.

It also emerged that the bombers were apparently prepared to fight police if they were intercepted, carrying improvised bombs that could be thrown and a semi-automatic handgun in their vehicles.

Mr Keith sought to stamp out conspiracy theories about the bombings, which he said caused “distress to families”.

He said that there was no evidence to suggest that the bombers were duped into their attack or that they did not know that they would die.

At a preliminary hearing last week, counsel for the Security Service suggested that it would ask for some evidence to be given in closed hearings for national security reasons.

Lady Justice Hallett is expected to make a decision on that matter in the coming weeks.

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