UK & World News
7/7 Memorial Defaced On Anniversary Of Attacks
The memorial commemorating the victims of the London bombings has been defaced nine years to the day after the rush-hour attacks.
A series of slogans was found stencilled on to the stainless steel columns in Hyde Park, hours before a ceremony marking the ninth anniversary of the attacks got under way.
One, written in vivid red paint, said: "Blair Lied Thousands Died."
Another read: "4 Innocent Muslims," in an apparent reference to the four suicide bombers who struck London's transit system on July 7, 2005.
The al Qaeda-inspired attack left dozens of people dead and hundreds injured.
A spokesman for the Royal Parks said the graffiti was cleared before survivors and relatives gathered for the memorial ceremony.
She said: "We found it this morning. It has now been removed and the memorial can go ahead as planned. Obviously, we are very disappointed."
The Metropolitan Police have launched an investigation into the damage which Prime Minister David Cameron's spokesman described as "deplorable".
A spokesman for the Muslim Council of Britain also spoke out against the incident.
He said: "This is a shocking case of vandalism which we condemn, 7/7 is an atrocity etched on all our minds, and Muslims joined fellow Britons in speaking out against this terrorism.
"This monument to those who lost their lives should be considered as a point of solemn reflection and unity for us all."
The 11.5ft (3.5m) columns remember each of the 52 people who were killed in the simultaneous attacks.
They are clustered into four groups, symbolising the four locations of the bombings - Tavistock Square, Edgware Road, King's Cross and Aldgate.
The monument was unveiled in 2009 at a ceremony attended by the Prince of Wales and former Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
Police have urged anyone with any information regarding the vandalism to call 101.