The Real IRA are also thought to be responsible for leaving a car bomb in my home town of Birmingham, England on Saturday the 3rd of November 2001.
Just after 10:30pm on a busy Saturday evening, the detonator triggered, blowing a part of the car into the street but fortunately failing to detonate the 88lb bomb that the car contained. CCTV footage has now been released which shows a lot of traffic and pedestrians passing the car at the time of the explosion. If you saw yourself on this tape, you're probably lucky to be alive.
Presumably, Birmingham ("England's second city™") was chosen because of the increased security in and around
London following the September 11 attacks on New York. It was the first time Birmingham had been the target of a
terrorist attack since 1974, when the IRA bombed two pubs, killing 21 people and injuring more than 150.
These pubs were actually only about 170 yards away from the site Saturday's car bomb, just outside New Street Station. Of course, after the event, security
has now also tightened within Birmingham. Parts of the city have been closed twice in the last 48 hours following
further bomb scares but so far (again, fortunately) they have been false alarms.
Maybe it's just me, and I'm missing something extremely obvious, but I still don't understand how trying to kill
innocent people in England helps the people of Northern Ireland in any way...
Three members of the Real IRA were convicted of this and two other bombings yesterday, on the 8th of April 2003 and two other men admitted their part in the bombings. Birmingham had been their third target, after they had planted bombs at the BBC Television centre in March 2001 and then Ealing Broadway, west London, in August.
They may not have been caught were it not for their involvement in a Diesel washing tax scam, which lead Customs & Excise to tip off the Anti-terrorist branch. When police searched one of the farms that the group were operating from, they discovered a car containing a Smith and Wesson revolver, ammunition, a hand grenade and a timer unit.
Fortunately, the Birmingham car bomb left behind a whole load of incriminating evidence when it failed to explode, and the timer found at the farm matched the one used in Birmingham. The (farm) car also contained a mobile phone box, which matched the phone used to issue a warning call before the Birmingham bomb detonated.