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Acquittal in Britain's 7/7 bombing case spurs doubts about investigation

A jury found three men associated with the London bombers, but didn't help them.

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Britain's security services were facing a second setback in as many weeks Tuesday when the only men to have been tried in connection with the July 7, 2005, London attacks were acquitted of helping the bombers.

Prosecutors failed to convince a jury that three Britons known to have associated with the so-called 7/7 suicide bombers also abetted their mission by scoping out the capital for possible targets prior to the attack.

Two of the men, Waheed Ali and Mohammed Shakil, were convicted of a second charge of conspiracy to attend a place used for terrorist training. The third, Sadeer Saleem, walked free, proclaimed his innocence, and said the case against him had been nothing more than "guilt by association."

The prosecution's failure to link the trio to 7/7 means that almost four years after the deadliest terrorist attack on mainland Britain – it killed 52 people and injured 700 others – the atrocity still has gone unpunished. Relatives of victims renewed their call for a proper inquiry into the attacks Tuesday, while terrorism experts said that despite notable successes against other terror plotters in Britain, security services were frustrated by their inability to convict anyone of the one plot that succeeded.

"There was an overwhelming amount of evidence," says M. J. Gohel, a London-based terrorism expert. "The security services will be very disappointed that having finally found some suspects who they could put on trial and having collected what they regarded as substantial evidence, they did not secure convictions."

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