List of terrorist incidents in Great Britain

List of terrorist incidents in Great Britain

The following is a list of terrorist incidents in the United Kingdom, including incidents where people were arrested under the terrorist laws and later released without charge, but excluding events in Northern Ireland – a part of the United Kingdom.

Genuine terrorist attacks involving violence or serious threat to life

1939 January - 1940 February

* A sustained campaign of bombing in London, Birmingham and other parts of the country, known as the S-Plan, organized by the IRA


* 1971 12 January: Two bombs explode at the house of government minister Robert Carr. This attack was one of 25 carried out by the Angry Brigade between August 1970 and August 1971. The Bomb Squad was established at Scotland Yard in January 1971 to target the group, and they were apprehended in August of that year. [ [ BBC ON THIS DAY | 12 |1971: British minister's home bombed ] ] [ [,6903,643923,00.html Look back in anger | Food monthly |The Observer ] ]
* 1971 31 October: A bomb explodes in the Post Office Tower in London causing extensive damage but no injuries. The "Kilburn Battalion" of the IRA claimed responsibility for the explosion. [ [ Bomb explodes in Post Office tower] On this day report by the BBC]
* 1972 22 February: The Official Irish Republican Army kills seven civilians in the Aldershot bombing.
* 1972 19 September: The group Black September post a letter bomb to the Israeli embassy in London killing an Israeli diplomat. [ [ Parcel bomb attack on Israeli embassy] On this day report by the BBC]
* 1973 10 September: The Provisional IRA set off bombs at London's King's Cross Station and Euston Station injuring 21 people. [ [ Bomb blasts rock central London] On this Day report by the BBC]
* 1974 4 February: Eight Soldiers and 4 civilians are killed by the Provisional IRA in the M62 Coach Bombing.
* 1974 17 June: The Provisional IRA plant a bomb which explodes at the Houses of Parliament, causing extensive damage and injuring 11 people. [ [ IRA bombs parliament] On this day report by the BBC]
* 1974 5 October: Guildford pub bombing by the Provisional IRA leaves 4 off duty soldiers and a civilian dead and 44 injured.
* 1974 22 October: A bomb planted by the Provisional IRA explodes in London injuring 3 people. [ [ Bomb blast in London club] On this Day report by the BBC]
* 1974 21 November: The Birmingham pub bombings, 21 killed and 182 injured by Provisional IRA bombs.
* 1979 30 March: Airey Neave killed when a car bomb exploded under his car as he drove out of the Palace of Westminster car park. The Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) claimed responsibility for the killing.


* 1980 30 April: The Iranian Embassy Siege where a six-man terrorist team held the building for six days until the hostages were rescued by a raid by the SAS which was broadcast live on TV.
* 1982 20 July: The Hyde Park and Regents Park bombings in London by the IRA kill eleven members of the Household Cavalry and the Royal Green Jackets.
*1982 30 November: A group called the Animal Rights Militia sent a letter bomb to Margaret Thatcher at 10 Downing Street, the device exploded injuring one person. [ [ Animal activists bomb Downing Street] On the day report by the BBC]
*1983 17 December: Harrods was bombed by the IRA. Six are killed (including three police officers) and 90 wounded during Christmas shopping at the West London department store. (See 17 December 1983 Harrods bombing)
* 1984 12 October: Brighton hotel bombing, 5 killed and several injured in an attempt by the IRA to kill Margaret Thatcher.
* 1988 21 December: Pan Am Flight 103 (Lockerbie) blown up by a bomb in a suitcase while in flight over Scotland after taking off from Heathrow. 270 were killed.
* 1989 22 September: Deal barracks bombing: Eleven Royal Marines bandsmen are killed and 22 injured when base in Deal, Kent, is bombed by the IRA.


*1990 May 16: Wembley IRA detonate a bomb underneath a minibus killing Sgt Charles Chapman (The Queen's Regiment) and injuring another soldier.
*1990 june 1: Lichfield City railway station 1 solder is killed and 2 are injured in a shooting by the Provisional Irish Republican Army
* 1990 20 July: The IRA detonate a bomb at the London Stock Exchange causing damage to the building. Nobody was injured in the blast. [ [ IRA bombs Stock Exchange] On this Day report by the BBC.]
* 1990 30 July: Ian Gow MP killed by a car bomb planted by the IRA while at his home in Sussex.
* 1991 7 February: The IRA launched three mortar shells into the back garden of 10 Downing Street.
* 1991 February 18: A bomb explodes at Victoria Station. One man is killed and 38 people injured.
* 1992 February 28 1992: A bomb explodes at London Bridge station injuring 29 people.
* 1992 April 10: A large bomb explodes in St Mary Axe in the City of London. The bomb was contained in a large white truck and consisted of a fertilizer device wrapped with a detonation cord made from Semtex. It killed three people: Paul Butt, 29, Baltic Exchange employee Thomas Casey, 49, and 15-year old Danielle Carter. The bomb also caused damage to surrounding buildings, many of which were also badly damaged by the Bishopsgate bombing the following year. The bomb caused £800 million worth of damage, £200 million more than the total damaged caused by the 10,000 explosions that had occurred during the Troubles in Northern Ireland up to that point. [cite book | last = De Baróid | first = Ciarán | authorlink = | title = Ballymurphy And The Irish War | publisher = Pluto Press | year= 2000 | pages = p. 325 | doi = | isbn = 0-7453-1509-7]
* 1992 25 August: The IRA plant three fire bombs in Shrewsbury, Shropshire. Bombs were placed in Shoplatch, The Charles Darwin Centre and Shrewsbury Castle. The latter causing the most damage as the castle housed the Shropshire Regimental Museum and many priceless historical aritifacts were lost and damaged by fire and smoke. No fatalities or injuries were recorded.
* 1992 October 12: A device explodes in the gents' toilet of the "Sussex Arms" public house in Covent Garden killing one person and injuring four others.
* 1992 16 November: IRA plants a bomb at the Canary Wharf, but is spotted by security guards. The bomb is deactivated safely.
* 1992 3 December: The IRA exploded two bombs in central Manchester, injuring 65 people. [ [ IRA bombs Manchester] On this Day report by the BBC.]
* 1993 20 March: Warrington bomb attacks. The first attack, on a gasworks, created a huge fireball but no casualties, but the second attack on Bridge Street killed two children and injured many other people. The attacks were conducted by the IRA.
* 1993 April 24: IRA detonate a huge truck bomb in the City of London at Bishopsgate, It killed journalist Ed Henty, injured over 40 people, and causing approximately £1 billion worth of damage, [cite book | last = De Baróid | first = Ciarán | authorlink = | title = Ballymurphy And The Irish War | publisher = Pluto Press | year= 2000 | pages = p. 325 | doi = | isbn = 0-7453-1509-7] including the destruction of St Ethelburga's church, and serious damage to Liverpool St. Tube Station. Police had received a coded warning, but were still evacuating the area at the time of the explosion. The insurance payments required were so enormous, that Lloyd's of London almost went bankrupt under the strain, and there was a crisis in the London insurance market. The area had already suffered damage from the Baltic Exchange bombing the year before. (see 1993 Bishopsgate bombing)
* 1996 9 February 1996: The IRA bombs the South Quay area of London, killing two people. (see 1996 Docklands bombing)
* 1996 15 June: The Manchester bombing when the IRA detonated a 1500 kg bomb which destroyed the Arndale shopping centre and injured 206 people.
* 1996 February 15: A 5 lb bomb placed in a telephone box is disarmed by Police on the Charing Cross Road.
* 1996 February 18: An improvised high explosive device detonates prematurely on a bus travelling along Aldwych in central London, killing Edward O'Brien, the IRA operative transporting the device and injuring eight others.
* 1999 17 April, 24 April, 30 April: David Copeland set off three nail bombs in London targeting the black, Bangladeshi and gay communities respectively, killing 3 and injuring 129. Convicted of murder on 30 June 2000.

:"Refer also to the list of IRA terrorist incidents presented to Parliament between 1980 and 1994, listed [ halfway down the page here] "


* 2000 1 June: Bomb explodes on Hammersmith Bridge
* 2000 20 September: RPG attack SIS Building
* 2001 4 March: A car bomb explodes outside the BBC's main news centre in London. One London Underground worker suffered deep cuts to his eye from flying glass and some damage was caused to the front of the building. [cite news
title =Bomb blast outside BBC
publisher = BBC News
date = 2001-03-04
url =
accessdate = 2006-09-22
] (See 4 March 2001 BBC bombing)
* 2001 16 April: Hendon post office bombed
* 2001 6 May: The Real IRA detonate a bomb in a London postal sorting office. One person was injured. [cite news
title =Second blast at London post office
publisher = BBC News
date = 2001-05-06
url =
accessdate = 2006-12-12
*2001 3 August: The last Real IRA bomb, as of June 2008, in Britain explodes in Ealing, West London, injuring seven people. [cite news
title =Car bombers rock west London
publisher = BBC News
date = 2001-08-03
url =
accessdate = 2006-09-22
] (See 3 August 2001 Ealing bombing)
*2001 4 November: Car bomb explodes in Birmingham [cite news
title =Bomb blast in Birmingham
publisher = BBC News
date = 2001-11-04
url =
accessdate = 2008-02-13
* 2005 7 July: The 7 July 2005 London bombings conducted by four separate suicide bombers, killing 56 people and injuring 700.
* 2007 January - February: The 2007 United Kingdom letter bombs
* 2007 30 June: 2007 Glasgow International Airport attack
* 2008 22 May: 22 May 2008 Exeter Bombing injuring only the perpetrator. [cite news
title = Man held after city centre blast
publisher = BBC News
date = 2008-05-22
url =
accessdate = 2008-05-22

Prevented, failed or aborted attacks

These are attacks which could have constituted a threat to life had they worked or been large enough. Does not include attacks that were merely at a talking stage and were not actually in operation.

* 1985: Police found 10 grenades, seven petrol bombs and two detonators at the home of Tony Lecomber after he was injured by a nailbomb that he was carrying to the offices of the Workers' Revolutionary Party. Convicted under the Explosive Substances Act 1883.
* 1993 October 23: In Reading, Berkshire, an IRA bomb exploded at a signal post near the railway station, some hours after 5 lb (2 kg) of Semtex was found in the toilets of the station. The resulting closure of the railway line and evacuation of the station caused travel chaos for several hours, but no-one was injured.
* 2000 1 June: Real IRA suspected of planting a high-explosive device attached to a girder under the south side of Hammersmith Bridge which detonated at 4.30am. [cite news
title = Dissident republicans suspected in Hammersmith bombing
publisher = The Guardian
date = 2000-06-01
url =,2763,327159,00.html
accessdate = 2007-12-19
* 2005 21 July: The 21 July 2005 London bombings, also conducted by four would-be suicide bombers on the public transport, whose bombs failed to go off.
* 2007 1 February: The 2007 Plot to behead a British Muslim soldier
* 2007, 29 June: 2007 London car bombs.
* 2008, 27 February: British police thwarted a suspected plot to kill Abdullah of Saudi Arabia during a state visit to Britain in the year 2007 a senior officer said.

Given the nature of counter-terrorism, successes in preventing terrorist attacks in the UK will not always come to light, or not be as heavily promoted as intelligence failures. However, during the Police advocacy of 90 day detention during the Terrorism Act 2006 they produced documents listing all the cases they could not go into details about.

Arrests, detentions, and other incidents related to the Terrorism Acts

These are cases where either the Terrorism Acts were invoked, or which the authorities alleged were terrorist in nature at the time. It includes plots that were foiled at an early stage before any materials were actually assembled.

* 2003 5 January: Wood Green ricin plot where police arrested six Algerian men accused of manufacturing ricin to use for a poison attack on the London underground. No trace of the poison was actually found [ [ Fake Terror - Ricin Ring That Never Was] ] [ [ UK TERROR TRIAL FINDS NO TERROR] ] , and all men were acquitted of all terror charges, except for Kamel Bourgass who stabbed four police officers during his arrest in Manchester several days later. He was convicted of the murder of the officer he killed the others he stabbed survived). He was also convicted of plotting to poison members of the public with ricin and other poisons. Two of the suspects in the plot were subsequently convicted of possessing false passports. [T cabin gate cite news
title = Ricin plotter jailed for policeman's murder
publisher = The Guardian
date = 2005-04-13
url =,,1458830,00.html
accessdate = 2007-12-19
] .
* 2003 October: Andrew Rowe arrested in Dover after being detained as he entered the Channel Tunnel in France. [cite news
title = Man denies tunnel terror charges
publisher = BBC News
date = 2004-05-07
url =
accessdate = 2007-12-19
] Convicted as a "global terrorist" and sentenced to 15 years in prison on September 23, 2005 on the basis of traces of explosives on a pair of socks and a code translation book. [cite news
title = British Muslim convert jailed for terrorism offences
publisher = The Guardian
date = 2005-09-24
url =,15935,1577303,00.html
accessdate = 2007-12-18
* 2004 30 March: Seven men arrested in West Sussex in possession of 600 kg of ammonium nitrate fertilizer as part of Operation Crevice.
* 2004 3 August: Fourteen men arrested, but only eight charged in relation to the 2004 Financial buildings plot following the leak of the identity of an Al-Qaeda double-agent. The men possessed detailed plans for attacking financial buildings in the US, but no actual bomb making equipment. The leader, Dhiren Barot, pleaded guilty at his trial on 12 October 2006 and was convicted to life imprisonment.
* 2004 24 September: Four men arrested in the Holiday Inn in Brent Cross trying to buy red mercury, a mythical substance which could purportedly be used to construct a nuclear bomb, from a newspaper reporter. [cite news
title = Terror police arrest four over 'dirty bomb' newspaper sting
publisher = The Guardian
date = 2004-09-27
url =,,1313272,00.html
accessdate = 2007-12-18
] One man was released three days later [cite news
title = 'Terror plot' suspect is released
publisher = BBC News
date = 2004-09-30
url =
accessdate = 2007-12-19
] , while the other three were cleared at their trial on 25 July 2006 [cite news
title = Trio cleared of red mercury plot
publisher = BBC News
date = 2006-07-25
url =
accessdate = 2007-12-18
] , during which the jury was told that "whether red mercury does or does not exist is irrelevant". [cite news
title = Terror accused in 'mercury sting'
publisher = BBC News
date = 2006-04-25
url =
accessdate = 2007-12-18
* 2005 22 July: The Metropolitan Police tracked Jean Charles de Menezes onto a train and shot him seven times in the head at close range because they thought he was a suicide bomber.
* 2005 28 July: David Mery arrested at Southwark tube station on suspicion of terrorism for wearing a jacket "too warm for the season" and carrying a bulky rucksack. All charges were dropped on August 31. [cite news
title = Suspicious behaviour on the tube
publisher = The Guardian
date = 2005-09-22
url =,16132,1575532,00.html
accessdate = 2007-12-18
* 2005 28 September: Walter Wolfgang was ejected from the Labour Party Conference under the Terrorism Act 2000.
* 2005 22 December: Abu Bakr Mansha, described by his barrister as an "utter incompetent" was accused of planning to murder a British soldier who had served in the Iraq War and convicted under the Terrorism Act for possessing a document that was "likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism." He was sentenced to 6 years.
* 2006 2 June: The 2 June 2006 Forest Gate raid on a house in Forest Gate saw the arrest of two suspects, one whom was shot in the shoulder, on charges of conspiring to release a chemical weapon in the form of suicide vest. The suspects were cleared of suspicion and released days later.
* 2006 10 August: The 2006 transatlantic aircraft plot to blow up 10 planes flying from Heathrow saw the arrest of 24 people from their homes in Britain, chaos at the airports as security measures were put in place, and numerous high level statements from US and UK officials. This is a current event; material evidence of a plot has yet to be exhibited in public.
* 2006 23 August: The 2006 Cheetham Hill terrorism arrests where four men were arrested in Manchester in the vicinity over the course of a month and charged with financing terrorism.
* 2006 1 September: The Jameah Islameah School in Sussex was cordoned off for over three weeks and searched by a hundred police officers. Twelve men were arrested as part of the operation as they ate in a Chinese restaurant in London.
* 2007 1 November: Police searching for indecent images of children arrested British People's Party local organiser Martyn Gilleard in Goole, East Riding of Yorkshire, under the Terrorism Act over explosives found in his home. He was subsequently charged with possession of material for terrorist purposes and collection of information useful to a terrorist, and pleaded guilty to possessing 39,000 indecent images. He was jailed for 16 years. [cite news
title = Terror charge man to face trial
publisher = BBC News
date = 2007-11-08
url =
accessdate = 2007-12-18
] [cite news
title = Man held after 'explosives' find
publisher = BBC News
date = 2007-11-01
url =
accessdate = 2007-12-18
] [cite news
publisher = BPP
date =
url =
accessdate = 2008-01-23
] [cite news
title = Man held after 'explosives' find
publisher = BBC News
date = 2007-11-01
url =
accessdate = 2007-12-18
] [cite news
title = Jailed for 16 years: Neo-Nazi paedophile found guilty of planning race war
publisher = "Daily Mail"
date = 2008-06-25
url =
accessdate = 2008-08-25
* 2008 14 May: Postgraduate student Rizwaan Sabir and Adminsitrative Manager Hicham Yezza from the University of Nottingham were arrested and detained for six days under the Terrorism Act 2000 for being in possession of an edited version of the Al-Qaeda Training Manual. Rizwaan Sabir had sent the training manual that he had downloaded from the United States Department of Justice website for his PhD to Hicham Yezza who was asssiting him write his PhD proposal. Both were cleared of terrorism related offences, but Hicham Yezza was immediately re-arrested on immigration grounds. [Melanie Newman, "Nottingham Scholar Held for Six Days Under Anti-Terror Law", Times Higher Education, 29th May 2008 [] ] [Polly Curtis, "Student Researching Al-Qaeda Tactics Held for Six Days", The Guardian, 24th May 2008 [] ] [Lee Glendinning, "It Really is Psychological Torture", The Guardian, 11th June 2008 [] ] ["Victim of State Islamaphobia Speaks Out," You Tube [] ]

ee also

* 2007 UK terrorist incidents
* Chronology of Provisional IRA actions
* Terrorism Acts relating to Northern Ireland
* Terrorism Acts (2000-present)
* List of terrorist incidents in the U.S.
* List of terrorist incidents (worldwide)
* List of Terrorist Incidents in London
* Rizwaan Sabir


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