The war in Iraq contributed to the radicalisation of the July 7 London bombers and is likely to continue to provoke extremism among British Muslims, according to reports based on secret assessments by security and intelligence chiefs.
References to Britain's role in the invasion of Iraq and continuing military presence there are made in a section of the report dealing with the radicalisation of the four British suicide bombers.
The draft narrative, ordered by Charles Clarke, the home secretary, after calls for a public inquiry into the bombings, is said to refer to economic deprivation, social exclusion, and disaffection with community leaders as other "motivating factors".
The document echoes views in a top secret report by the Joint Intelligence Committee, leaked yesterday. It states: "Iraq is likely to be an important motivating factor for some time to come in the radicalisation of British Muslims and for those extremists who view attacks against the UK as legitimate."
The report, International Terrorism: Impact of Iraq, was drawn up in April last year - before the London bombings - and sent to senior ministers, including Tony Blair. It warns that Iraq had "reinforced the determination of terrorists who were already committed to attacking the west and motivated others who were not".
It adds: "We judge that the conflict in Iraq has exacerbated the threat from international terrorism and will continue to have an impact in the long term."
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