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UK opens 7/7 bombings inquest


A court in London began hearing inquests into the deaths of 52 people killed in a series of bombings that targeted London's transport network on July 7, 2005.

The inquiry will examine whether the police or the MI5 domestic intelligence service could have intercepted the bombers, two of whom had been under the surveillance of the authorities.

The hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice opened on Monday with a one-minute silence to commemorate the victims of the three simultaneous blasts on metro trains in the UK capital and a later explosion on a bus.

Families of victims and survivors have failed in their calls for a full public inquiry into the attacks. But the inquests will provide the first chance to challenge official accounts, which the families have labelled as insufficient, inaccurate and misleading.

"It is disgraceful that there has never been a public, judicial examination of all the facts which is truly independent of the government, the police and the security service," Clifford Tibber, a lawyer whose firm represents families of six of the victims, said.

"These inquests represent the first opportunity for a public examination of the facts and to consider, if there were failings, what lessons have been learned."

Inquests are fact-finding inquiries that take place when a person dies violently or under unusual circumstances.

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