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1983: Harrods bomb blast kills six
Three police officers and three members of the public have been killed and 75 others injured after a car bomb attack in central London.

Police believe the IRA planted the bomb in a side street near Harrods department store in Knightsbridge.

A coded warning was received at 1245 GMT but the device exploded just before 1330 when it is believed to have killed four police officers who were approaching it.

A huge blast ripped through the busy streets which were crowded with Christmas shoppers.

It sent out thick black smoke, rubble and smashed glass.

Many walking wounded were treated at the scene while those suffering more serious injuries were taken to nearby hospitals by ambulance and army vehicles.

Four hospitals were put on emergency alert to expect serious casualties.

Staff at the Harrods store reported seeing windows blown out into the shop and seeing colleagues and shoppers badly injured.

Second warning

Police worked to evacuate the area fearful other explosives might have been planted in surrounding shops and streets.

They evacuated stores and flats but had to repeat appeals to the public to empty the streets as chaos gripped the area.

Officers cordoned off the buildings affected and began a detailed search for evidence from today's explosion and to ensure there were no further devices.

A second warning call was made to authorities at the time of the first explosion claiming a bomb had been placed in the heart of Oxford Street.

It was said to be at the C&A store on the east side of the shopping street.

Police tried to clear the area crowded with shoppers and cordoned it off but it was later found to be a false alarm.

Today's events come after a series of threats from the IRA in recent days that it was planning a pre-Christmas bombing campaign in the capital.

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Watch/Listen
Injured man
The streets were full of shoppers when the bomb exploded

Footage from the scene of the Harrods blast



In Context

In fact, 90 people were injured in the blast which took place on one of the busiest shopping days of the year.

The following day the IRA admitted planting the car bomb and said it had given a clear warning about the explosion.

But Scotland Yard denounced the organisation and stepped up security in the city.

Hundreds of extra police and mobile bomb squads were drafted into London to protect the public from any further attacks.

Harrods re-opened three days later despite the damage.

Its owners said the store would not be defeated by acts of terrorism.

Stories From 17 Dec


 
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