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1996: Docklands bomb ends IRA ceasefire
The IRA has admitted planting the bomb that exploded in the Docklands area of London last night.

One man was found dead by police sifting through the wreckage today and another person has been reported missing.

Five of the 39 casualties - including three police officers - remain in hospital, one of them in a critical condition.

The bombing marks the end of a 17-month IRA ceasefire during which Irish, British and American leaders worked for a political solution to the troubles in Northern Ireland.

They have all condemned the attacks.

'Dark shadow of doubt'

The leader of the political wing of the IRA - Sinn Fein - Gerry Adams has spoken of the need to continue the peace process.

British Prime Minister John Major said there was now "a dark shadow of doubt" where optimism had existed.

His statement continued: "The IRA once again callously threatens the desire for peace. They will not be allowed to prevail.

The half-tonne bomb was left in a small lorry about 80 yards from South Quay Station on the Docklands Light Railway, in the regenerated commercial district.

It exploded at 1902 GMT after coded warnings were telephoned to Dublin and Belfast media 90 minutes earlier.

The IRA has said "regrettable injuries" 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."

Firemen worked throughout the night to clear up the devastation as a six-storey building collapsed and surrounding office blocks had their windows blown out.

Immediate damage is estimated at 85 million in a blast felt in Canary Wharf Tower - the tallest building in Europe - a quarter of a mile away.

A second explosion caused by a gas leak hampered rescue efforts and Heron Quay and Canary Wharf Tower were both evacuated over fears of a second device.

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After the blast
Damage has been estimated at 85m

London Docklands devastated by IRA blast

In Context
A second body was found during the clear up operation.

James McArdle, a 29-year-old bricklayer from County Armagh was found guilty of conspiracy to cause explosions in June 1998.

He was jailed for 25 years.

Murder charges - for the deaths of the two men killed, newsagents Inam Bashir and John Jeffries - were dropped when the judge dismissed the jury because of concerns about press coverage.

Eighteen months later the IRA agreed another ceasefire.

Peace was finally negotiated with the Good Friday Agreement - accepted by voters in Ireland and Northern Ireland - in May 1998.

Under the terms of the agreement, James McArdle was released in July 2000.

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