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1993: IRA bomb devastates City of London

VIDEO : Images of City bomb devastation

A massive bomb has ripped through the heart of the City of London, killing one and injuring more than 40.

The explosion shook buildings and shattered hundreds of windows, sending glass showering down into the streets below. A mediaeval church, St Ethelburga's, collapsed; another church and Liverpool Street underground station were also wrecked.

The cost of repairing the damage has been estimated at more than 1bn.


"We didn't expect them to do it again in the same area"

Security guard Raymond Fayers

Police had received coded warnings, but were still evacuating the area when the bomb went off. Most of those injured were security guards, builders and maintenance staff, and those who had come into their offices to work at the weekend.

Police said the bomb was hidden in the back of a dark blue tipper truck, parked in Bishopsgate.

It was home-made, with about a ton of fertiliser - similar to the bomb which devastated the Baltic Exchange a year ago, killing three people.

Repairs to the Exchange had just been completed, and the building re-opened, when the same banks were damaged again by today's blast.

One of those injured, security guard Raymond Fayers, said, "We were all surprised that they picked the same hotspot again. Every night, virtually, we get some sort of scare, but we didn't expect them to do it again in the same area."

The dead man was found under rubble during a five-hour search of debris near where the bomb went off. He has not yet been identified.

Back in business

Police say they are in no doubt that the bomb was planted by the IRA, although the organisation has not said it carried out the attack.

The explosion comes just over a month after the Warrington bomb, which killed two children. The IRA expressed its regret after the outcry that followed.

Commander David Tucker, of the Anti-Terrorist Squad, said, "We had hoped after the deaths in Warrington that there would be some sort of turning point, but that seems to be not the case."

The area around the site of today's blast remains sealed off, but the Lord Mayor of London has promised that the City will be back in business on Monday.

In Context
The dead man was later identified as 34-year-old Ed Henty, a freelance photographer working for the News of the World. He was married with two children.

Directly after the explosion the government threw what it called a "ring of steel" around the City, with roadblocks in and out of the financial district. Security in the area remains high.

The damage caused by the Bishopsgate bomb cost 350m to repair. The huge payouts by insurance companies contributed to a crisis in the industry, including the near-collapse of the world's leading insurance market, Lloyd's of London.

The IRA carried out one more major attack on London's financial centre. In 1996, after a year-long ceasefire, it planted a bomb in Canary Wharf in the Docklands area. Two died and many more were injured.

A second ceasefire has held since 1997 and opened the way for the IRA's political wing, Sinn Fein, to join multi-party talks on the future of Northern Ireland.


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