IRA Bomb Injures 28 in Busy London Railway Station
A bomb planted by the Irish Republican Army exploded in the men’s room of a busy London rail station during the morning rush hour Friday, spraying glass shards for 40 feet and injuring 28 people, four of them seriously, authorities said.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility.
But less than nine minutes before the blast, a caller using a known IRA code word told Ulster Television’s London bureau that a bomb had been planted in a central London rail station, police said.
The outlawed IRA, which seeks to end British rule in Northern Ireland, disrupted London rail service with bombings last Dec. 16, Dec. 23 and Jan. 30. A year ago an IRA bomb killed a commuter at Victoria Station.
“I am satisfied this was a typical, irresponsible, criminal and callous act carried out by the Provisional IRA,” said Cmdr. George Churchill-Coleman, chief of Scotland Yard’s anti-terrorism unit. He said that the warning gave too little time for evacuation and that the bomb was “designed to kill.”
The blast occurred at 8:30 a.m. in a platform restroom just as a crowded commuter train pulled into the London Bridge rail and subway station. The station is the fifth-busiest in the capital, handling 120,000 passengers a day.
Police quickly shut all railway and subway stations in the capital to search for other possible bombs. None were found, but the shutdown snarled traffic, forcing many commuters to walk.
“I was knocked through the air like the man of the flying trapeze,” said Thomas Cranmer, 79, of Bexley, who was standing near the men’s room when the blast occurred, smashing five large plate-glass windows near the roof of the room. “They say I blacked out for about two minutes.”
The 28 injured people were admitted to Guy’s Hospital, most with shock, ringing ears and cuts, spokesman Norman Kirby said. “Four of them are in a moderately serious condition,” he said.
All subway and British Rail stations reopened by 5 p.m.