The Real Terrorists: Part 3

The IRA bombed London over two decades - Sinn Féin now sympathises. By Rúairí McCann

Gerry Adams, condemned the bomb attacks in London and sent a message of "sympathy and solidarity" to the British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, and to the Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone.

Books of condolences were opened by local councils throughout Northern Ireland where there are Sinn Féin mayors or deputy-mayors. There are books of condolences to be signed by the public in ten Sinn Féin-controlled councils, including Derry City, Omagh, Fermanagh, Moyle and Newry Armagh.

The irony of this is that the same organisation (or its sister organisation) and, in many instances, the same people, were involved in a concerned campaign of bombing in London over two decades.

Gerry Adams himself has been linked with several of these bombings, having personally directed, for instance, the 8 March, 1973 bombing at News Scotland Yard. Almost as many people were killed in these IRA bombings as were killed on 7 July.

The following are the major IRA bombings to have taken place in London since 1973:

8 March 1973: One car bomb exploded outside the Old Bailey courthouse and another in Whitehall. One person died of a heart attack and 180 were injured. Car bombs outside the headquarters of the London Metropolitan police and another in the West End were diffused before they detonated. Warnings had been given. Gerry Kelly, Sinn Féin North Belfast MLA, was one of those convicted with the bombing along with two sisters, Dolours and Marion Price.

8 September 1973: A bomb exploded at Victoria Station, London. There were no injuries.

10 September 1973: Explosions at King's Cross and Euston stations injured 13 people and brought chaos to central London.

17 June 1974: An IRA bomb exploded at the British Houses of Parliament injuring 11 people. On the same day, an explosion in the Tower of London killed one person and injured 41.

22 October 1974: A bomb exploded in Brooks Club, London, injuring three members of staff. The club had military connections.

15 December 1974: In December a bomb exploded on the first floor of Harrod's department store in Knightsbridge. Part of the store was gutted but there were no injuries.

22 December 1974: The London home of the Conservative leader and former Prime Minister, Edward Heath, was bombed. He was not at home and no one was injured.

5 September 1975: A bomb exploded at the Hilton Hotel in London's Park Lane killing two civilians and injuring 63 others.

29 January 1976: Twelve small bombs exploded during the night in London's West End, injuring a taxi-driver.

10 October 1981: Two civilians were killed and 39 people injured when a remote control bomb was detonated as a British army bus passed on the way to Chelsea British Army base, on Ebury Bridge Road in Chelsea.

26 October 1981: A bomb-disposal officer was killed when the bomb he was defusing exploded at a Wimpy restaurant on Oxford Street in London.

20 July 1982: In Hyde Park, a bomb killed four members of the British Army performing ceremonial duties there. On the same day another device killed seven British Army bandsmen of the Royal Green Jackets as it exploded underneath the bandstand in Regents Park.

18 December 1983: A carbomb exploded outside Harrod's department store in Knightsbridge - planted by the IRA during Christmas shopping season. Six poeple were killed, including three police officers and 100 were wounded.

20 July 1990: The IRA exploded a large bomb at the London Stock Exchange, blowing a 10-foot hole in the wall. No one was injured.

7 February 1991: The IRA fired three mortar bombs from a van at 10 Downing Street as Prime Minister John Major and his Gulf 'war cabinet' were meeting. No one was injured.

18 February 1991: A bomb exploded at Victoria Station in London. One man was killed and 38 people injured.

28 February 1992: A bomb exploded at London Bridge railway station injuring 29 people.

10 April 1992: A large bomb exploded in the City of London killing three people and injuring 91. Many buildings were heavily damaged and the Baltic Exchange was completely destroyed.

9 October 1992: A device explodes in the gents' toilet of the Sussex public house in Covent Garden killing one person and injuring four others. A warning was given.

24 April 1993: The IRA detonated a huge truck bomb in the City of London at Bishopsgate, which killed one, injured 44 and caused around £350m of damage. An inquest heard there were 18 "mostly accurate" warnings given before the bomb exploded.

8-13 March 1994: Three times in one week, the IRA fired four mortar bombs towards a runway at Heathrow airport. It was later discovered they had been fired repeatedly from a heavily-camouflaged launcher buried in scrubland close to the airport's perimeter. No one was injured.

10 February 1996: The IRA ended its 1994 ceasefire, exploding a bomb in the Docklands area of London killing two civilians at a news kiosk. 39 people were injured. A warning had been given and an inquest heard a police officer had asked the two civilians to evacuate the area before the explosion.