London bombers had no help from al-Qa'ida, report concludes

The Government's conclusions raise concerns over the ease with which relatively unsophisticated suicide attacks can be planned and executed, and it underlines the difficulties the security services face in thwarting such operations.

A leak of the Home Office report brought renewed calls last night for an independent inquiry into the London blasts, which killed 52 innocent people.

Charles Clarke, the Home Secretary, ordered a "narrative" of the events leading up to the detonation of three bombs on London Underground trains and a fourth on a bus.

It is due to be published within two months but a leaked draft, obtained by The Observer, shows the provisional conclusion is that the attacks were a "simple and inexpensive" plot by four suicide bombers acting on their own initiative.

The report says they trawled the internet for information on building bombs, which cost only a few hundred pounds to put together. It finds nothing to suggest an al-Qa'ida "fixer", thought to have come from Pakistan, masterminded the attacks, and it uncovers no proof that a fifth bomber was involved in the conspiracy.

The report acknowledges that the bombers - Mohammad Sidique Khan, Hasib Hussain, Germaine Lindsay and Shahzad Tanweer - could have been influenced by Khan's visits to Pakistan. But it paints a picture of a homegrown operation by young men motivated by anger over Western policy towards the Middle East and by the promise of immortality.

A videotape released shortly after the attacks featured Khan and Osama bin Laden's deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri. However, the Home Office report suggests it was edited at a later date to give the false impression of involvement by al-Qa'ida.

It will not address the question of why the security services failed to keep track of Khan after he became known to them as a possible risk before the attacks. That apparent failure could be highlighted by the Commons' Intelligence and Security Committee, which is also investigating the attacks.

The Independent has learnt that ministers privately accept they must do more to reassure the public over Britain's vulnerability to suicide attacks.

They are therefore expected, before the first anniversary of the attack, to set out in detail how defences have been tightened, pointing to the recruitment of extra officers to MI5 and MI6 and success in preventing a number of terrorist strikes.

Patrick Mercer, the Conservative spokesman on homeland security, said he found it "very hard to believe" the conclusion that the bombings had no link to al-Qa'ida.

"A narrative from the Government is going to come from the same sources that provided us with the dodgy dossier over Iraq. This is why it is so important that we have an independent inquiry and not just another government whitewash," Mr Mercer said.

A Home Office spokesman said last night: "We won't comment on a leaked document and we won't pre-empt the official account of 7 July, which we intend to publish shortly."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
SPONSORED FEATURES
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent