April 10, 1992: PIRA detonates one-ton bomb in UK’s financial center

On this day in 1992, the PIRA detonated a one-ton homemade bomb hidden in a white van in front of the Baltic Exchange building at the heart of London’s financial district.

LONDON, UK – The Irish Republican Army may not be an army in the traditional sense of the word but that doesn’t mean they have not exacted heavy tolls on England in the form of blood and treasure.

The Irish Republican Army (IRA), also referred to as the Provisional Irish Republican Army (PIRA) has existed in one form or another since the Easter Rising in Dublin in 1916. However, the UK‘s main issues with them began in the 1960s with the start of a period of conflict in Northern Ireland known as The Troubles.

From the 1960s to the 1980s, the PIRA engaged in guerilla warfare against the British using tactics such as assassinations and bombings in an attempt to acquire independence from the UK for Northern Ireland.

While many supported the idea of a united, independent Ireland, the group’s bloody tactics quickly made them more feared than admired on their home soil.

As their goal was to cause so much of a disruption to the governance of the UK as to make Northern Ireland more trouble than it was worth, the PIRA purposely selected targets that would do the most damage to the British psyche. This is what makes today’s featured attack so interesting.

On this day in 1992

The PIRA detonated a one-ton homemade bomb hidden in a white van in front of the Baltic Exchange building at the heart of London‘s financial district. Three people were killed and over 90 were injured but the financial toll was far greater causing £800 million worth of damage, a full £200 million more than the total damage caused by the 10,000 explosions that had occurred during The Troubles up to that point.

It was described as the most powerful bomb to hit London since the Luftwaffe bombing campaign of the Second World War. The target was carefully selected as an historic building that represented the UK’s economic prowess.

The economic toll of this attack was significant but even though only 3 lives were lost, their names bear repeating: Paul Butt (29), Thomas Casey (49) and Danielle Carter (15).

All this blood and treasure spent – to what end?

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By Phil Gurski

Phil Gurski is the President and CEO of Borealis Threat and Risk Consulting Ltd. Phil is a 32-year veteran of CSE and CSIS and the author of six books on terrorism.

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