IRA bomb Harrods
In a strange way, IRA atrocities in the capital, however horrific they were, seemed to be losing their power to shock as the terror campaign dragged relentlessly on through the 1970s and into the 1980s. The targets for IRA ‘spectaculars’ had included the Post Office Tower; Victoria , Kings Cross and Euston stations; the Houses of Parliament; the Hilton Hotel ; Chelsea Barracks; Hyde Park and Regents Park . The car bomb that exploded outside Harrods on December 17 1983 killed six, injured 90, and devastated the lives of those maimed in the blast as it did those of many victims' family members and friends. Yet neither it nor others like it ever seemed likely to achieve the IRA’s political aims.
A warning had been phoned to the Samaritans at 12.45 on one of the busiest shopping days of the year; a timing device detonated about 14kg of explosives as police officers approached the car at 13.20. The power of the bomb launched the Austin 1300 which contained it onto the 5th-floor roof of a nearby building; windows were blown out in Harrods and surrounding streets. One of the fatalities was 22-year-old WPC Jane Arbuthnot, the youngest of the six people killed; the oldest was only 34. More young lives tragically cut short by the IRA’s actions – its protestation that the attack had not been authorised by the IRA council meant nothing to anyone affected. Harrods reopened three days later.
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