List of terrorist incidents in London

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"London bombings" redirects here. For the German bombing of London during World War II, see The Blitz. For the suicide bombings of London in 2005, see 7 July 2005 London bombings.

This is a list of incidents in London that have been labelled as "terrorism". It includes various bomb attacks and other politically driven violent incidents.

Pre-20th century[edit]

Illustration of the Gunpowder Plot of 1605

Irish republican attacks before and during the Second World War[edit]

Main article: S-Plan

On 16 January 1939, the Irish Republican Army (IRA) launched a campaign of bombing and sabotage against the civil, economic, and military infrastructure of the United Kingdom. The campaign petered-out in early 1940.


  • 16 January: a bomb exploded outside the control room of a large power station. It created a large crater in the forecourt of the building. There were no casualties and the control station was reportedly undamaged. A second explosion damaged an overhead cable running from Grand Union Canal to Willesden Power Station.
  • 17 January: a bomb exploded at Williams & Deacons Bank, damaging gas mains.
  • 4 February: two bombs exploded in the London Underground – one at Tottenham Court Road station and one at Leicester Square station. They were timed suitcase bombs stored in the left-luggage rooms overnight. There were no deaths, although two people were wounded and severe damage was done to the stations.
  • 9 February: two bombs exploded at King's Cross station.
  • 2 March: a bomb exploded on an aqueduct for the Grand Union Canal near Stonebridge Park.
  • 23 March: five bombs exploded at different times during the day. Targets included telephone and gas installations, and the offices of the News Chronicle in Fleet Street.
  • 29 March: two bombs exploded on Hammersmith Bridge.
  • 31 March: seven bombs exploded in different parts of the city.
  • 5 May: two bombs exploded.
  • 10 June: bombs exploded in thirty post offices and postboxes in London, Birmingham and Manchester.
  • 24 June: several bombs exploded before or after a republican demonstration (under police protection) demanding the release of IRA volunteers.[4]
  • 24 June: bombs exploded at the London branches of the Midland Bank, Westminster Bank and Lloyds Bank.
  • 26 July: two bombs exploded in the London Underground – one in the left-luggage area of King's Cross Station and one in the left-luggage area of Victoria Station. In the King's Cross attack, one man was killed and two wounded. In the Victoria Station attack five were wounded.


  • 6 February: two bombs exploded in mailbags at Euston Station.
  • 23 February: two bombs exploded in the West End. The devices had been placed in litter bins. Thirteen people were wounded.

Irish republican attacks during "the Troubles"[edit]

In many cases telephoned warnings were given about bombs due to explode, identified as genuine by the use of a code word. In some cases the warning gave the wrong location, or did not give enough time to evacuate the area. Hoax calls, intended to cause disruption, were often made.[citation needed]


  • 8 March 1973: The Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) conducted its first operation in England, planting four car bombs in London. Two of the car bombs were defused: a fertilizer bomb in a car outside the Post Office in Broadway and the BBC's armed forces radio studio in Dean Stanley Street. Howerver, the other two exploded, one near the Old Bailey and the other at Ministry of Agriculture off Whitehall.[5] Ten members of the IRA unit, including Gerry Kelly, Dolours Price and Marian Price, were arrested at Heathrow Airport trying to leave the country.[6]
  • 24 December 1973: The Provisional IRA left two packages which exploded almost simultaneously in the late evening on Christmas Eve. One was in the doorway of the North Star public house, at the junction of College Crescent and Finchley Road, Swiss Cottage, which exploded injuring six people, and the other exploded on the upstairs verandah of the nearby Swiss Cottage Tavern where an unspecified number of people were injured.[7][8]
  • 5 January 1974: Two bombs exploded within three minutes of each other. The first at Madame Tussauds, the second during the Boat Show at Earls Court Exhibition Centre. Police confirmed a telephone warning had been given shortly before both explosions allowing evacuations at both sites and there were no fatalities or injuries reported. It was later confirmed the devices had been planted by the IRA.[9]
  • 17 June 1974: A bomb exploded at the Houses of Parliament in London, causing extensive damage and injuring 11 people.[10]
  • 17 July 1974: An explosion in the Tower of London left one person dead and 41 injured. This was the second bomb in London on this day. At 0430 BST there was an explosion at government buildings in Balham, South London. Nobody was injured in the morning blast but there was substantial damage to surrounding buildings.[11]
  • 7 November 1974: An off-duty soldier and a civilian were killed when a bomb was thrown through the window of the Kings Arms pub in Woolwich, and 28 people were injured.[12]
  • 19 December 1974 The Irish Republican Army (IRA) carried out a bomb attack on Selfridge's department store in Oxford Street, London. A time bomb had been placed in a car which was then parked outside the store. Three telephone warnings were given and the area was evacuated. The explosion was later estimated to have caused £1.5 million worth of damage.[citation needed]
  • 21 December 1974: A bomb was defused in Harrods department store in Knightsbridge, London. A second bomb was defused in the King's Arms public house in Warminster, Wiltshire.[12]
  • 28 August 1975: Seven people were injured when a bomb exploded in Oxford Street, London, outside the south-east corner of Selfridges store. A telephone warning was issued to The Sun newspaper five minutes before the explosion.[13]
  • 5 September 1975: Two people were killed and 63 injured when an IRA bomb exploded in the lobby of the Hilton hotel in London.[14]
  • 3 November 1975: Several people injured by a car bomb in Connaught Square, London W2.[15]
  • 6–12 December 1975: Four IRA members held two people hostage in the Balcombe Street Siege.[16]
  • 27 March 1976: A bomb placed by the Provisional IRA exploded in a litter bin at the top of an escalator in a crowded exhibition hall, Earl's Court. 20,000 people were attending the Daily Mail Ideal Home Exhibition at the time. 70 were injured, 4 people lost limbs.[17]
  • 30 March 1979: Shadow Northern Ireland Secretary Airey Neave was killed as he left the House of Commons car park by a car bomb planted by the Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) in 1979.[18][19]



  • 16 May 1990: Wembley IRA detonate a bomb underneath a minibus killing Sgt Charles Chapman (The Queen's Regiment) and injuring another soldier. No one was ever convicted of Sgt Chapman's murder.
  • 20 July 1990: London Stock Exchange, the IRA detonated a large bomb at the London Stock Exchange causing massive damage.
  • 7 February 1991: Mortar attack on 10 Downing Street[21]
  • 18 February 1991: A bomb explodes in Paddington Station, damaging the building's roof but causing no casualties. Three hours later another bomb explodes at Victoria Station. One man is killed and 38 people injured.
  • 10 January 1992: Small device exploded. No injuries, Whitehall Place, London SW1.
  • 28 February 1992: A bomb explodes at London Bridge station injuring 29 people.
  • 10 April 1992: Baltic Exchange bombing: A large bomb explodes outside 30 St Mary Axe in the City of London. The bomb was contained in a large white truck and consisted of a fertiliser device wrapped with a detonation cord made from Semtex. It killed three people: Paul Butt, aged 29, Baltic Exchange employee Thomas Casey, aged 49, and 15-year old Danielle Carter. Several people were critically or severely injured. The bomb also caused damage to surrounding buildings (many of which were further damaged by a second bomb the following year). The bomb caused £800 million worth of damage—£200 million more than the total damage costs resulting from all 10,000 previous explosions that had occurred relating to the Troubles in Northern Ireland. A new skyscraper was built on the site of the previous historic building.[22]
  • 11 April 1992: A large bomb explodes underneath the A406 flyover at Staples Corner, causing serious damage to roads and nearby buildings including a B&Q DIY store and causing the closure of the junction. The blast was large enough to be felt many miles away.
  • 12 October 1992: A device exploded in the gentlemen's toilet of the Sussex Arms public house in Covent Garden, killing one person and injuring four others.
  • 16 November 1992: the IRA planted a bomb at Canary Wharf in the Docklands. The device was spotted by security guards and was deactivated safely.
  • 17 December 1992: A bomb hidden in a litter bin in a third-floor men's lavatory of the John Lewis department store, Oxford Street, London, was detonated by the IRA just after 11 am. A second bomb exploded 15 minutes later at the rear of the store, in Cavendish Square, while shoppers and staff were still being evacuated. Four people were injured.[23]
  • 28 January 1993: a bomb exploded in a litter bin outside Harrods, injuring four people.[24]
  • 27 February 1993: a bomb exploded in a litter bin outside a McDonalds restaurant in Camden Town, injuring several people.[25]
  • 24 April: 1993 Bishopsgate bombing: the IRA detonated 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,[26] including the near destruction of St Ethelburga's Bishopsgate church, and serious damage to Liverpool Street 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 large 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.
  • October 1993: Over eight days, a series of IRA bombs were left in various London locations. On 1 October, four bombs were left on Finchley Road, three of which exploded, causing damage to buildings and several injuries caused by falling glass. On 4 October, pairs of bombs were left in Highgate (where one failed to explode), Hornsey, and Archway, causing significant damage but no injuries. On 8 October, bombs exploded in Staples Corner and West Hampstead, again causing damage but no injuries.
  • March 1994: Heathrow Airport, The IRA launched a series of mortar attacks on the airport, partially paralysing the capital's main air route.
  • 9 February: 1996 Docklands bombing: the IRA bombed the South Quay area of London, killing two people.
  • 15 February 1996: A 5-pound (2.3 kg) bomb placed in a telephone box is disarmed by Police on the Charing Cross Road.
  • 18 February 1996: An IRA bomb detonates prematurely on a bus travelling along Aldwych in central London, killing Edward O'Brien, the IRA terrorist transporting the device and injuring eight others.[27]
  • 29 April 1997: Britain's transport industry claimed minimum losses of £30 million after a series of IRA bomb alerts in southern England brought traffic to a standstill. In the London area, the Heathrow airport and the M25 motorway were closed.[28]

Real IRA attacks after the Belfast Agreement[edit]

The Middle-East[edit]

Islamic terrorism[edit]

Other attacks[edit]

  • The Angry Brigade bombs 25 commercial and government targets (including, most famously, Biba) in London during a campaign lasting from August 1970 to August 1971.
  • David Copeland's nail bomb attacks against ethnic minorities and gay people in London which killed three people and injured over 160 in April 1999.
  • South African security forces or other right-wing groups suspected of blowing up the ANC headquarters in Islington 15 March 1982.[33]

See also[edit]

References and notes[edit]

  1. ^ The Fenian Movement
  2. ^ The Fenians and the IRA Metropolitan Police.
  3. ^ Propaganda by Deed – the Greenwich Observatory Bomb of 1894
  4. ^ Stephan, Enno: "Spies in Ireland", page 42 Macdonald & Co. 1963
  5. ^ "From the archives: Ten held after Provo bombs blast London, 9 March 1973", Article from the 1973 archives published 9 March 2009 (The Guardian), 9 March 2009, retrieved 30 May 2013 
  6. ^ "The IRA campaigns in England". BBC. 4 March 2001. Retrieved 9 April 2007. 
  7. ^ McGladdery, Gary (2006). The Provisional IRA in England. Irish Academic Press. p. 236. ISBN 0-7165-3373-1. 
  8. ^ David Leigh (27 December 1973). "Two more bomb attacks in London". Times Newspaper archive. Retrieved 4 September 2010. 
  9. ^ More Explosions In London at Madame Tussauds Waxworks and The International Boat Show ITN Source 5 January 1974, Retrieved 5th October 2013
  10. ^ "1974: IRA bombs parliament". BBC. 17 June 1974. Retrieved 8 April 2007. 
  11. ^ publisher = BBC "1974: IRA bombs parliament". 17 July 1974. Retrieved 8 April 2007. 
  12. ^ a b "A Chronology of the Conflict – 1974". CAIN. Retrieved 8 April 2007. 
  13. ^ "The Year London Blew Up August to November 1975". Channel 4. Retrieved 18 April 2007. 
  14. ^ "London Hilton bombed". BBC. 5 September 1975. Retrieved 5 September 2007. 
  15. ^ Claudia Joseph (30 June 2007). Daily Mail "The ghostly history of Blair's new home in Connaught Square". 
  16. ^ "1975: Balcombe Street siege ends". BBC. 12 December 1975. Retrieved 8 April 2007. 
  17. ^ Vanderbilt University. "TV News Archive". Retrieved 18 September 2007. 
  18. ^ Staff, 1979: Car bomb kills Airey Neave BBC
  19. ^ Staff Airey Neave, spartacus.schoolnet
  20. ^ Crozier, Hazel. (2007) RAF Uxbridge 90th Anniversary 1917–2007. RAF High Wycombe: Air Command Media Services
  21. ^ Downing Street mortar attack
  22. ^ De Baróid, Ciarán (2000). Ballymurphy and the Irish War. Pluto Press. p. 325. ISBN 0-7453-1509-7. 
  23. ^ Schmidt, William E (17 December 1992). "4 Hurt as 2 I.R.A. Bombs Go Off On Busy London Shopping Street". The New York Times (New York City). Retrieved 5 January 2013. 
  24. ^ Bennett, Will (29 January 1993). "Four hurt by IRA bomb outside Harrods". Independent (London). Retrieved 2 February 2011. 
  25. ^ [1]
  26. ^ De Baróid, Ciarán (2000). Ballymurphy and the Irish War. Pluto Press. p. 325. ISBN 0-7453-1509-7. 
  27. ^ "1996: Bomb blast destroys London bus". BBC News. 18 February 1996. Retrieved 8 May 2010. 
  28. ^ "£100 million losses from IRA actions". 
  29. ^ BBC ON THIS DAY 2001: Second blast at London post office
  30. ^ Joffe, Lawrence (25 February 2003). "Obituary: Shlomo Argov". (London). Retrieved 26 April 2014. 
  31. ^ Abu Nidal Organization (ANO) attacked UK Business target 26 December 1983
  32. ^ Bombing in London Hits Israeli Embassy
  33. ^ Bomb blast at ANC London office Guardian Newspaper online archive 15 March 2013, Accessed 1 July 2013