1996 Docklands bombing

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Template:EngvarB Template:Use dmy dates Template:Infobox terrorist attack Template:Campaignbox Northern Ireland Troubles The Docklands bombing (also known as the Canary Wharf bombing or South Quay bombing) occurred on 9 February 1996, when the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) detonated a truck bomb in Canary Wharf, one of London's two main financial districts. It brought an end to the IRA's seventeen-month ceasefire. Although the IRA had sent warnings 90 minutes beforehand, two people were killed and the bomb caused an estimated £100 million worth of damage.

The bombing

At about 19:01 on 9 February, the IRA detonated a large bomb containing 500 kg of ammonium nitrate fertilizer and sugar,<ref name=alamos/> in a small lorry about Template:Convert from South Quay Station on the Docklands Light Railway (in the Canary Wharf area of London), directly under the point where the tracks cross Marsh Wall.<ref name=tump/> The detonating cord was made of semtex, PETN and RDX high explosives.<ref name=alamos/> The IRA had sent telephoned warnings 90 minutes beforehand, and the area was evacuated. However, two men working in the newsagents shop directly opposite the explosion, Inan Bashir and John Jeffries, had not been evacuated in time and were killed. 39 people required hospital treatment due to blast injuries and falling glass. Part of the South Quay Plaza was destroyed.<ref name=tump>Template:Cite news</ref> The explosion left a crater ten metres wide and three metres deep.<ref name=alamos/>

Approximately £100 million worth of damage was done by the blast.<ref name=alamos>Oppenheimer, A. R. (2009). IRA: The Bombs and The Bullets. A History of Deadly Ingenuity. Irish Academic Press, p. 129. ISBN 978-0-7165-2895-1</ref> Three nearby buildings (the Midland Bank building, South Quay Plaza I and II) were severely damaged (the latter two requiring complete rebuilding whilst the former was beyond economic repair and was demolished). The station itself was extensively damaged, but both it and the bridge under which the bomb was exploded were reopened within weeks (on 22 April), the latter requiring only cosmetic repairs despite its proximity to the blast.

This bomb represented the end to the IRA ceasefire during the Northern Ireland peace process at the time. James McArdle was convicted of conspiracy to cause explosions, and sentenced to 25 years in prison, but murder charges were dropped due to concerns about press coverage.Template:Citation needed McArdle was released under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement in June 2000.

The IRA described the deaths and injuries as a result of the bomb as "regrettable", but said that they could have been avoided if police had responded promptly to "clear and specific warnings". Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Sir Paul Condon said: "It would be unfair to describe this as a failure of security. It was a failure of humanity."

On 28 February, John Major, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, and John Bruton, the Taoiseach of Republic of Ireland, announced that all-party talks would be resumed in June. Major's decision of dropping the demand of a previous IRA decommissioning of weapons led to criticism from the press, which accused him of being "bombed to the table".

See also


  • Bishopsgate bombing
  • Chronology of the Northern Ireland Troubles
  • Chronology of Provisional IRA actions
  • List of terrorist incidents in London



External links

Template:The Troubles