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1975: London Hilton bombed
Two people were killed and 63 injured when a suspected IRA bomb exploded in the lobby of the Hilton hotel in central London.

A warning stating a device would detonate at the Park Lane hotel within 10 minutes was received by the Daily Mail newspaper at 1155 BST.

The newspaper notified Scotland Yard which immediately sent three officers to investigate, but they were not able to evacuate the building before the bomb exploded at 1218 BST.

Police worked quickly to clear the area after the explosion fearing there could be another device nearby.

The blast caused extensive damage to the hotel and neighbouring shops with broken glass spread over a wide area.

Witnesses said police arrived only five minutes before the bomb went off, and it is not clear whether the hotel was warned before they turned up.

A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police said an officer telephoned the Hilton shortly after receiving the warning, but the hotel denied this.

"A policeman was just telling the assistant manager that he had better evacuate when the bomb went off," said press officer Anne Crewdson.

No call can be taken casusally
Metropolitan Police commander
London is on a high state of alert and several areas of the capital are sealed off as a series of hoax warnings followed the Hilton blast.

A commander in the Metropolitan Police said they were forced to act every time they were telephoned.

"No call can be taken casually," he said.

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Inside the London Hilton
The blast caused extensive damage

Scenes at the Hilton bomb blast

In Context
The IRA said they were behind the explosion which was the first in England since the Birmingham pub bombings 10 months previously - and which marked the start of a renewed bombing campaign on the mainland.

Two Lebanese businessmen and an American general who were seriously injured in the blast sued the Hilton hotel group for damages, alleging they were negligent for failing to order a search.

The three men had been in the lobby when the bomb exploded and had suffered severe hearing damage, but the hotel denied liability.

The High Court action was settled in November 1984 on undisclosed terms.

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