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The BBC's Stephen Cape
"The BBC has never been targeted like this before"
 real 56k

Scotland Yard's Anti-Terrorist branch Alan Fry
"Coded warnings of this kind put the public at great risk"
 real 56k

David Capitanchik, terrorism expert, Aberdeen Univ.
talks to News Online about the dissident republican movement
 real 28k

Sunday, 4 March, 2001, 11:33 GMT
Bomb blast outside BBC
A taxi explodes outside BBC Television Centre
The explosion was heard several miles away
Police say a car bomb which exploded outside the BBC's main news centre in London was the work of an Irish dissident group.

The blast rocked the White City area of West London at 0030GMT on Sunday, spraying debris over a large area.

The device went off as bomb squad officers tried to carry out a controlled explosion on a taxi left near Television Centre.

Staff had already been evacuated after police received a coded warning.


I can only fear that we will see more attacks

Scotland Yard
One London Underground worker suffered deep cuts to his eye from flying glass and some damage was caused to the front of the building.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Alan Fry, head of Scotland Yard's Anti-Terrorist Branch, said it was "clearly a big device", which contained high explosives.

He said he believed dissident Irish Republican group, the Real IRA, was responsible for the attack.

The warning was received by a London hospital and an unnamed charitable trust at around 2320GMT on Saturday.


The incident was at White City, west London

It was the same codeword used when a device was planted on the railway line at Acton, west London, last year.

Mr Fry said: "Bomb disposal officers from the Metropolitan Police attended the scene within 20 minutes of the original call.

"They started to attempt to do a controlled explosion but while they were carrying out those procedures the bomb exploded."

Terror campaign

He said the explosion was an escalation of the Real IRA's terror campaign on mainland Britain.

It is believed to be the first such attack on the BBC.

Bomb attacks in west London
21 February Territorial Army barracks, Shepherd's Bush. A 14-year-old cadet is blinded when a bomb explodes
20 Sept 2000 Dissident Irish republicans were the main suspects in the "rocket" attack on the MI6 spy headquarters in central London.
19 July 2000
The Real IRA was understood to have been responsible for a bomb near Ealing Broadway tube station
1 June 2000
A device found on Hammersmith Bridge. No one claimed responsibility

Mr Fry said: "We have been predicting, since Christmas, that the mainland, and London in particular, were to be subject to terrorist attacks. This was one of those attacks."

Anti-terrorist branch officers are carrying out forensic tests in the Wood Lane area of Shepherd's Bush and the road is expected to remain sealed off to traffic on Sunday.

The BBC's Laurie Margolis was on the roof of Television Centre and saw the explosion go off.

He said: "There was an explosion and a huge bang."

A BBC spokesman said: "We evacuated the main building and put our emergency plans into action. Broadcasting on channels has remained throughout the incident."

The BBC said it was handing over CCTV tapes from around the building to the police.

Richard Sambrook, director of BBC News, said security had been stepped up on Sunday, and the need for further precautions was being reviewed.

He told the BBC's Breakfast With Frost programme: "The BBC is a very high profile organisation and that may well be the reason for it."

Terrorist attacks on the media were rare and so the bomb marked a significant change, he said.


There was a huge orange fireball and a pall of smoke which, even in the night sky, was visible

Cameraman Jon Brotherton
"What we are all asking ourselves is whether this is simply a general change in tactics in some way, or whether there is something specific behind this particular attack and we simply don't know at the moment."

Underground services were severely disrupted on Sunday morning.

The Central and Metropolitan and City Underground lines were likely to be closed in the area, a police spokesman added.

Police said they were keeping an open mind about those responsible.

They were also keeping an open mind about possible links between the blast and the explosion at a nearby Territorial Army barracks in February, which blinded a 14-year-old cadet.

Stephen Menary's also had his left hand blown off by a bomb packed inside a torch at the TA centre in South Africa Road, Shepherd's Bush.

Police have appealed for anyone with information to call the Anti-Terrorist Hotline on 0800 789321.

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See also:

21 Sep 00 | Northern Ireland
Missile caused MI6 blast
19 Jul 00 | Northern Ireland
Bomb found on tube line
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