Minister Says London Being Subjected To IRA Terror Campaign
LONDON (AP) _ Following two Irish Republican Army bombings in London in three days, Britain’s armed forces minister says he believes the capital is being subjected to a systematic terror campaign.
The official, Archie Hamilton, said the bombings - outside an army recruiting center Wednesday and at an army education office Monday - marked the first time London had seen two attacks so close together.
″I think we are being subjected to a campaign of terror by them (the IRA),″ Hamilton said in an interview with Channel 4 television Wednesday night. ″This is a new situation and we must assume they will try elsewhere, possibly in the London area, in the near future.″
An army sergeant was killed and another injured in the bombing Wednesday in Wembley in north London. The IRA, fighting to end British rule in Northern Ireland, claimed responsibility for the bombing in a statement to news organizations in Dublin Wednesday night.
″While the British government persists in its continued occupation of the north of Ireland the IRA will persist in attacking the British government and its forces in England,″ the IRA said in a statement.
The bomb exploded in a white unmarked army van parked behind an army careers information office run by the Territorial Army, Britain’s part-time volunteer reserve force.
Scotland Yard said the bomb exploded at just after Charles Chapman and another sergeant got into the vehicle.
Chapman, 34, was killed. The other sergeant, who was sitting in the back of the van, suffered severe cuts, bruises and smoke inhalation. Two passers-by were treated for shock.
The sergeants worked at the recruiting office, on a busy shopping street about a half mile from Wembley Stadium, one of Britain’s top sports arenas.
Before Wednesday’s explosion, 12 people had been killed and one crippled in attacks in mainland Britain since August 1988.
On Monday, a time bomb buried in a flower bed blew a hole in the building housing the Directorate of Army Education at Eltham in southeast London, injuring seven civilians. The IRA claimed responsibility.
Security at the facilities at Eltham and Wembley was minimal.
The IRA has targeted British military installations in Northern Ireland, mainland Britain and the rest of Europe since sectarian and political violence flared in the province in 1969.
But it has repeatedly said that in terms of publicity, one bomb in mainland Britain is worth dozens in Northern Ireland. Ten of London’s 12 newspapers today made the Wembley attack their main story.
The mainly Roman Catholic IRA wants to unite the predominantly Protestant province with the 95 percent Catholic Republic of Ireland under socialist rule.