Firefighters hose down St Ethelburghs Church in London, after an IRA bomb exploded at the offices of the Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank. Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

1993 A massive IRA bomb wrecked the offices of two banks in London’s financial district, killing one, wounding 40 others and causing £1 billion (Dh5.14 billion) worth of damage. The bomb, which followed warnings, went off near the 52-storey NatWest Tower and the Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank, sending a mushroom cloud over the area. The blast disrupted a high-profile meeting of 3,000 finance officials, bankers and businessmen from East and West at the nearby headquarters of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development set up to help the East.

“This was a spectacular bomb from the IRA to gain maximum publicity,” a security source said. The attack punched a huge crater, blew out windows in banks, shops and offices and left streets carpeted with broken glass. The roar of the bomb could be heard from miles away. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for bomb attacks but warnings authenticated by IRA codes were received around 30 minutes before the bomb went off.

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