The British Government launched an immediate and high-level review of security in London’s governmental heartland of Whitehall and Westminster after an Irish Republican Army mortar attack on Number 10 Downing Street, described by Prime Minister John Major as a “deliberate attempt to kill the cabinet”. One of three mortar bombs landed in the Downing Street garden as the Gulf War Cabinet was meeting. Despite considerable damage to the windows, several of which were blown in, no one in the cabinet room was hurt. However, the attack highlighted ministers’ vulnerability to terrorist attacks despite heightened security because of the war. Three police officers and a civilian were treated in hospital for minor injuries.

Other important events

1863 HMS Orpheus is wrecked near New Zealand, killing 190 people.

1915 The first wireless telegraph message is sent from a moving train to a railway station.

1947 Arabs and Jews reject British proposal on dividing Palestine.

1962 Coal mine explosion in Saarbruecken, Germany, kills 298 miners.

1964 Rock ‘n’ roll’s British invasion begins when the Beatles arrive in New York for their first American tour.

1967 Sixty-two people die when bushfires ravage Hobart area of Tasmania, Australia.

1969 Nigerian planes bomb and strafe crowded market in village in rebellious Biafra, killing more than 200 people.

1971 Apollo 14 astronauts speed towards splashdown in Pacific Ocean after their visit to the moon.

1974 Britain grants independence to small Caribbean island of Grenada.

1984 Space shuttle astronauts Bruce McCandless II and Robert L. Stewart go on first untethered spacewalk.

1986 Haiti’s president for life Jean-Claude Duvalier goes into exile.

1991 Reverend Jean-Bertrand Aristide is sworn in as Haiti’s first democratically elected President.

1992 Treaty on European Union is signed.

1996 A charter jetliner carrying German tourists home from the Caribbean crashes in Dominican Republic, killing all 189 people on the board.

1999 King Hussain dies of cancer after nearly half a century on the throne of Jordan.

2000 Stipe Mesic is elected president of Croatia.

2001 Former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide returns to power in Haiti.

2002 The Mexican government releases General Jose Francisco Gallardo.

2003 A car bomb explodes at a club in Bogota, Colombia, killing at least 36 people and wounding more than 160.

2004 Sri Lanka’s President Chandrika Kumaratunga dissolves Parliament.

2005 British yachtswoman Ellen MacArthur breaks the solo round-the-world sailing record in a time of 71 days, 14 hours, 18 minutes and 33 seconds.

2006 Shaikh Nawaf Al Ahmad Al Sabah is appointed Crown Prince of Kuwait.

2010 Laura Chinchilla is elected the first female President of Costa Rica.

2012 Mohammad Nasheed, the first democratically elected president of the Maldives resigns after a mutiny by the police.

2013 Fifty-three people are killed in a high-speed collision between a bus and a truck in Zambia.

2015 Hakan Fidan, head of Turkey’s intelligence service, resigns to run in a parliamentary election.