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London marks terrorist attacks

FAMILIES of terrorist victims joined royalty and lawmakers yesterday to unveil a memorial of 52 steel pillars in a London park - one for each victim of the July 7, 2005 attacks on the city's transit system.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, London Mayor Boris Johnson and the Prince of Wales and his wife the Duchess of Cornwall attended the memorial service along with the bereaved. The stainless steel columns stand 3.5 meters tall in central London's Hyde Park.

"I believe the date of the London bombings is etched vividly on all our minds, as a brutal intrusion into the lives of thousands of people," Prince Charles told those gathered for the memorial.

Some relatives of those who died left single white or red roses next to a memorial plaque, while the names of all those killed were read aloud.

Cathey Johnson, whose husband Adrian Johnson was killed, took her two children to the memorial. "I think the designers have been really careful to accommodate everybody's needs. I think it's very fitting," she said.

Marc Lambert, an art consultant who carried a large bouquet of roses to the memorial service, said he'd left flowers at the bomb sites each year since the attacks. "Every year I have usually brought bouquets to each of the sites as a gesture to say that 'London hasn't forgotten you'," he said. "I hope this will crystalize as a place to remember how London gets knocked down, gets up and carries on."

As Londoners gathered for the ceremony, British lawmakers warned that the city's subway and bus network remain extremely vulnerable to attack by terrorists. The Home Affairs Select Committee said in a report published yesterday that the city's famous Tube and bus networks remain iconic targets.

Committee chairman Keith Vaz said that the panel will hold a new inquiry into the July 7, 2005 attacks and will ask the heads of Britain's intelligence agencies to give evidence.

Parliament's Intelligence and Security Committee has held two previous inquiries into the attacks, both of which rejected claims that security officials did too little to thwart the attacks.


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