Bloody Friday is the name given to the bombings by the Provisional Irish Republican Army's (IRA) Belfast Brigade in and around Belfast, Northern Ireland on 21 July, 1972, which killed nine people including two soldiers, and injured 130 civilians.
The bombings were part of a concerted bombing campaign carried out by the IRA against economic, military and political targets in Northern Ireland. The group carried out a total of 1,300 bombings in 1972. Following the failure of secret talks in London between the British government and the IRA in 1972, Gerry Adams allegedly played a central role in planning the Bloody Friday bomb blitz.
A total of 22 bombs were planted and, in the resulting explosions, nine people were killed and a further 130 civilians injured. Warnings were given by the IRA via the local media to the security forces before the bombs exploded with 30 minutes' warning given for the first bombing and around 70 minutes' warning for the last bomb. The IRA leader, Sean MacStiofain, claimed that the warnings for the two bombs which claimed lives were deliberately disregarded by the British for strategic policy reasons. Along with some accurate warnings which were given by the IRA, two more hoax warnings were called in, which impeded the evacuation of the area. As a result, the Royal Ulster Constabulary and British Army only effectively cleared a relatively small number of areas before the bombs went off. In addition, because of the large number of bombs in the confined area of Belfast city centre, people evacuated from the site of one bomb were accidentally moved into the vicinity of other bombs.
Thirty years after the killings the IRA issued a statement of apology.
Reactions and consequences
Speaking in the Commons on 24th July, Home Secretary of the time William Whitelaw called the bombings "appallingly bloodthirsty". He also drew attention to the Catholic victims, and mentioned the revulsion in the Republic of Ireland as elsewhere. Leader of the Opposition Harold Wilson described the events as "a shocking crime against an already innocent population". The Irish Times wrote "The chief injury is not to the British Army, to the Establishment or to big business but to the plain people of Belfast and Ireland. Anyone who supports violence from any side after yesterday's events is sick with the same affliction as those who did the deed." Television images of fire-fighters shovelling body parts into plastic bags at the Oxford Street bus station were the most shocking of the day.
479 people died in the Troubles in 1972, more than in any other year of the conflict. Ten days after the bombings the British Army launched Operation Motorman, to retake IRA controlled republican areas in Belfast and Derry. There were several revenge attacks by loyalists. Bloody Friday itself was seen by some as a reprisal attack for Bloody Sunday in Derry six months earlier.
Information Sheet 1B
Bombing in Beirut
The Beirut barracks bombing was a major incident on October 23, 1983, during the Lebanese Civil War. Two truck bombs struck separate buildings in Beirut housing United States and French military forces—members of the Multinational Force in Lebanon—killing hundreds of servicemen, the majority of whom were U.S. Marines. The blasts led to the withdrawal of the international peacekeeping force from Lebanon, where they had been stationed since the Israeli 1982 invasion of Lebanon. The organization Islamic Jihad took responsibility for the bombing, but that organization is thought to have been a nom de guerre for Hezbollah receiving help from the Islamic Republic of Iran,
At around 6:20 a.m., a rainbow Mercedes-Benz truck drove to Beirut International Airport, where the 1st Battalion 8th Marines under the 2nd Marine Division had set up its local headquarters. The truck had been substituted for a hijacked water delivery truck. The truck turned onto an access road leading to the Marines' compound and circled a parking lot. The driver then accelerated and crashed through a barbed wire fence around the parking lot, passed between two sentry posts, crashed through a gate and drove into the lobby of the Marine headquarters. The Marine sentries at the gate were operating under rules of engagement which made it very difficult to respond quickly to the truck. By the time the two sentries had locked, loaded, and shouldered their weapons, the truck was already inside the building's entry way.
The suicide bomber detonated his explosives, which were equivalent to 5,400 kg (12,000 pounds) of TNT. The force of the explosion collapsed the four-story cinder-block building into rubble, crushing many inside. According to Eric Hammel in his history of the Marine landing force, "The force of the explosion initially lifted the entire four-story structure, shearing the bases of the concrete support columns, each measuring fifteen feet in circumference and reinforced by numerous one and three quarter inch steel rods. The airborne building then fell in upon itself. A massive shock wave and ball of flaming gas was hurled in all directions." Following the Beirut barracks tragedy, the realization that terrorist organizations have weapons of potentially enormous yield deliverable by an ordinary truck or van led to the placement of protective barriers (bollards) around critical government facilities throughout the United States.
U.S. President Ronald Reagan called the attack a "despicable act" and pledged to keep a military force in Lebanon. Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger, who had privately advised the administration against ever having stationed U.S. Marines in Lebanon, said there would be no change in the U.S.'s Lebanon policy. On October 24 French President François Mitterrand visited the French bomb site. U.S. Vice President George H. W. Bush toured the Marine bombing site on October 26 and said the U.S. "would not be cowed by terrorists."
President Reagan assembled his national security team and planned to target the Sheik Abdullah barracks in Baalbek, Lebanon, which housed Iranian Revolutionary Guards believed to be training Hezbollah fighters. A joint American-French air assault on the camp where the bombing was planned was also approved by Reagan and Mitterrand. Defense Secretary Weinberger, however, lobbied successfully against the missions.
Besides a few shellings, there was no serious retaliation for the Beirut bombing from the Americans.
In the meantime, the attack gave a boost to the growth of the Shi'ite organization Hezbollah. Hezbollah denied involvement in the attacks but was seen by Lebanese as involved nonetheless as it praised the "two martyr mujahideen" who "set out to inflict upon the U.S. Administration an utter defeat not experienced since Vietnam ..." Hezbollah was now seen by many as "the spearhead of the sacred Muslim struggle against foreign occupation".
mal militia leader Nabih Berri, who had previously supported U.S. mediation efforts, asked the U.S. and France to leave Lebanon and accused the U.S. and France of seeking to commit 'massacres' against the Lebanese and creating a "climate of racism" against the Shia. Islamic Jihad phoned in new threats against the MNF "pledging that 'the earth would tremble' unless the MNF withdrew by New Year's Day 1984. The Marines were moved offshore where they could not be targeted. On February 7, 1984, President Reagan ordered the Marines to begin withdrawal from Lebanon. This was completed on February 26, four months after the barracks bombing; the rest of the Multinational Force was withdrawn by April.
Information Sheet 1C
In the early morning hours of June 23rd, 1985, Air India Flight 182 approached the west coast of Ireland. The flight began in Toronto, receiving passengers and luggage from connecting flights, and picking up more in Mirabel, Quebec. Children of all ages were joined by their families, looking forward to visiting their loved ones and friends in India. Most of the passengers were Canadians. Given the time of year — late June marks the beginning of summer holidays here in Canada — there were an especially large number of young adults, children and entire families traveling on the flight.
Unbeknownst to them, in the weeks prior to that flight, a group of Canadians had been planning to blow up the plane. The conspiracy was based in radical sections of the Sikh community in Vancouver and elsewhere who were pursuing the goal of an independent country, to be called Khalistan, in the northwestern province of Punjab in India.
As a result of this conspiracy, a bomb was manufactured, placed in a suitcase, and taken to the Vancouver airport, where on June 22, 1985, it was checked through on a flight from Vancouver to Toronto. In Toronto, the lethal suitcase made its way onboard Air India Flight 181, which then stopped at Mirabel and became Air India Flight 182, en route to London and Delhi.
At approximately 12:14 a.m., on June 23, 1985, the timer on the bomb detonated a charge and blew open a hole in the left aft fuselage of the plane. The aircraft, which bore the name ‘Kanishka’, was blown apart, falling approximately 31,000 feet below into the Atlantic Ocean off the south-west coast of Ireland.
The children going to visit grandparents, young tourists looking forward to their first experience of India, women and men of all ages, flight attendants and pilots, in short all 329 passengers and crew were killed.
It was, at that point, and up until 9/11, the worst act of terrorism against the traveling public in world history.
Numb with grief, families traveled to Cork in the west of Ireland where they were met by an Irish population who rallied to receive them. The hospital in Cork became a temporary morgue as the grim process of collecting and identifying bodies began.
Canadian authorities were not prepared for such a disaster. Family members were overwhelmed with grief, angry that this had been allowed to happen, furious that not enough was being done to answer their questions. That grief and anger has not gone away with the passage of time.
The Canadian government joined with the government of India and the local and national governments of Ireland to build a compelling memorial site on the southwestern shore of Ireland in 1985–1986.
Rae, Bob. Lessons to be Learned.(Ottawa, Canada: Air India Review Secretariat, 2005). http://www.cbc.ca/news/background/airindia/pdf/rae-report.pdf
Information Sheet 1D
arin Subway Attack
The Sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway, usually referred to in the Japanese media as the Subway Sarin Incident (地下鉄サリン事件, Chikatetsu Sarin Jiken?), was an act of domestic terrorism perpetrated by members of Aum Shinrikyo on March 20, 1995.
In five coordinated attacks, the perpetrators released sarin gas on several lines of the Tokyo Metro, killing at least a dozen people, severely injuring fifty and causing temporary vision problems for nearly a thousand others. The attack was directed against trains passing through Kasumigaseki and Nagatachō, home to the Japanese government. This was (and remains, as of 2008) the most serious attack to occur in Japan since the end of the Second World War.
Aum Shinrikyo (オウム真理教, literally, "Aum the True Teaching") is the former name of a controversial group now known as Aleph.
The name Aum Shinrikyo derives from the Hindu syllable "aum" (pronounced "omu") meaning "universe" and the Japanese words "shinri" ("truth") and "kyō" ("teaching," "doctrine").
The Japanese police initially reported that the attack was the cult's way of hastening an apocalypse. The prosecution said that it was an attempt to bring down the government and install Shoko Asahara, the group's founder, as the "emperor" of Japan. The most recent theory proposes that the attack was an attempt to divert attention from Aum when the group obtained some information indicating that police searches were planned (though contrary to this plan, it ended up leading to mass searches and arrests). Asahara's defence team claimed that certain senior members of the group independently planned the attack, but their motives for this are left unexplained.
Ten men were responsible for carrying out the attacks; five released the sarin, while the other five served as get-away drivers.
On Monday 20 March 1995, five members of Aum Shinrikyo launched a chemical attack on the Tokyo Metro, one of the world's busiest commuter transport systems, at the peak of the morning rush hour. The chemical agent used, liquid sarin, was contained in plastic bags which each team then wrapped in newspaper. Each perpetrator carried two packets of sarin totaling approximately 900 millilitres of sarin, except Yasuo Hayashi, who carried three bags. A single drop of sarin the size of a pinhead can kill an adult.
Carrying their packets of sarin and umbrellas with sharpened tips, the perpetrators boarded their appointed trains. At prearranged stations, the sarin packets were dropped and punctured several times with the sharpened tip of the umbrellas. The men then got off the train and exited the station to meet his accomplice with a car. By leaving the punctured packets on the floor, the sarin was allowed to leak out and evaporate into the train car and stations. This sarin vapor, in addition to irritating passengers' eyes and noses, was then inhaled.
On the day of the attack ambulances transported 688 patients, and nearly five thousand people reached hospitals by other means. Hospitals saw 5,510 patients, seventeen of whom were deemed critical, thirty-seven severe, and 984 moderately ill with vision problems. Most of those reporting to hospitals were the "worried well," who had to be distinguished from those that were ill.
By mid-afternoon, the mildly affected victims had recovered from vision problems and were released from hospital. Most of the remaining patients were well enough to go home the following day, and within a week only a few critical patients remained in hospital. The death toll on the day of the attack was eight, and it eventually rose to at least a dozen.
itnesses have said that subway entrances resembled battlefields. In many cases, the injured simply lay on the ground, many unable to breathe. Several of those affected by sarin went to work in spite of their symptoms, most of them not realizing that they had been exposed to sarin gas. Most of the victims sought medical treatment as the symptoms worsened and as they learned of the actual circumstances of the attacks via news broadcasts.
Information Sheet 1E
ussian Hostage Situation
The Beslan school hostage crisis (also referred to as the Beslan school siege or Beslan massacre) began when a group of armed rebels, demanding an end to the Second Chechen War, took more than 1,100 people (including some 777 children) hostage on September 1, 2004, at School Number One (SNO) in the town of Beslan, North Ossetia-Alania, an autonomous republic in the North Caucasus region of the Russian Federation. On the third day of the standoff, Russian security forces stormed the building. A series of explosions shook the school, followed by a fire which engulfed the building and a chaotic gunbattle between the hostage-takers and Russian security forces. Ultimately, at least 334 hostages were killed, including 186 children. Hundreds more were wounded or reported missing.
The hostage taking was carried out by Riyadus Salihiin lead by Shamil Basayev who was an independent warlord at the time. The tragedy led to security and political repercussions in Russia, most notably a series of government reforms consolidating power in the Kremlin and strengthening of the powers of President of Russia. As of 2008, there are many aspects of the crisis still in dispute, including how many militants were involved, their preparations, and whether some of them had escaped. Questions about the government's management of the crisis have also persisted, including disinformation and censorship in news media, repressions of journalists who rushed to Beslan, the nature and content of negotiations with the militants, the responsibility for the bloody outcome, and the government's use of possibly excessive force.
After the bloody conclusion of the crisis, many of the injured died in the only hospital in Beslan, which was badly unprepared to cope with the casualties, before the patients were sent to better-equipped facilities in Vladikavkaz. There was an inadequate supply of hospital beds, medication, and neurosurgery equipment. Relatives were not allowed to visit hospitals where the wounded were treated, and doctors were not allowed to use their mobile phones.
The day after the storming, bulldozers gathered the debris of the building, including the body parts of the victims, and removed it to a garbage dump. The first of the many funerals were conducted on September 4, the day after the final assault, with more following soon after, including mass burials of 120 people. The local cemetery was too small and had to be expanded to an adjacent plot of land to accommodate the dead. Three days after the siege, 180 people were still missing. Many survivors remained in severe shock and at least one female former hostage committed suicide after returning home.
Russian President Vladimir Putin reappeared publicly during a hurried trip to the Beslan hospital in the early hours of September 4 to see several of the wounded victims in his only visit to Beslan. He was later criticised for not meeting the families of victims. After returning to Moscow, he ordered a two-day period of national mourning for September 6 and September 7, 2004. In his televised speech Putin paraphrased Joseph Stalin saying: "We showed ourselves to be weak. And the weak get beaten." On the second day of mourning, an estimated 135,000 people joined a government-organised rally against terrorism on the Red Square in Moscow. An estimated 40,000 people gathered in Saint Petersburg's Palace Square.
Increased security measures were introduced to Russian cities. More than 10,000 people without proper documents were detained by Moscow police in "terrorist hunt". Colonel Magomet Tolboyev, a Hero of the Russian Federation, was beaten in the street in Moscow because of his Chechen-sounding name. The Russian public appeared to be generally supportive of increased security measures. A September 16, 2004, Levada-Center poll found 58% of Russians supporting stricter counter-terrorism laws and the death penalty for terrorism, while 33% would support banning all Chechens from entering Russian cities.
In the wake of Beslan, the government proceeded to toughen laws on terrorism and expand the powers of law enforcement agencies.
In addition, Vladimir Putin signed a law which replaces the direct election of the heads of the federal subjects of Russia with a system whereby they are proposed by the President of Russia and approved or disapproved by the elected legislative power bodies of the federal subjects. The election system for Russian Duma was also repeatedly amended, eliminating the election of State Duma members by single-mandate districts. The Kremlin consolidated its control over the Russian media and increasingly attacked the non-governmental organizations (especially those foreign-founded). Critics allege that the Putin's circle of siloviki used the Beslan crisis as an excuse to increase their grip on Russia. On September 16, 2004, the United States Secretary of State Colin Powell said that Russia was "pulling back on some of the democratic reforms" while George W. Bush has expressed concern that Putin's latest moves to centralize power "could undermine democracy in Russia". The Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has rejected criticism, insisting the measures are an "internal matter."
The attack also marked the end to the mass terrorism and suicide tactics of the Chechen conflict.