25 June 2005

ON THIS DAY

25 JUNE 1985

Police hunt IRA resort bombs


The IRA may have planted several devices in resorts around the UK

Thirteen people have been arrested in connection with a suspected IRA mainland bombing campaign uncovered by police two days ago.

The men - who are being held under the Prevention of Terrorism Act - include a 33-year-old from Belfast, suspected of carrying out the attack on the Conservative Cabinet in the Brighton Grand Hotel last year.

It is feared the IRA may have planted devices in a dozen seaside resorts around the UK - timed to go off at the height of the summer season - and a massive police hunt has been launched.

A controlled explosion was carried out on a suspect package in Brighton and a hotel in Hull was evacuated, but both incidents proved to be false alarms.

The only bomb discovered so far was found in the Rubens Hotel, London, where civil dignitaries and mayors were expected to stay for three Buckingham Palace garden parties next month.

Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher congratulated the police on their prompt action and said the eight forces involved in the bomb hunt had averted a disaster "calculated to maim and kill many innocent people".

Home Secretary Leon Brittan told the BBC he had given Metropolitan Commissioner Sir Kenneth Newman three weeks to make safe the resorts named in the IRA plot.

In Context

The alleged IRA summer bombing campaign was successfully averted.

One of the 13 men arrested, Patrick Magee, was charged on 29 June 1985 for the murder of the five people killed in the Brighton bombing the previous October.

He was sentenced to 35 years imprisonment for that attack and the seaside resort conspiracy, but released in 1999 under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement.



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