IRA targeted Buckingham

2009-10-28 16:21

London - An IRA terror cell behind a string of 1970s bombings compiled lists of targets including Buckingham Palace and other top London attractions, secret files released on Wednesday showed.

British police found documents containing the details when they raided a north London flat used as an Irish Republican Army bomb factory following a December 1975 IRA siege in the city which saw the four-man cell captured.

A list of the potential targets, released on Wednesday by the National Archives, was drawn up for then-prime minister Harold Wilson.

They included the Queen's Gallery in Buckingham Palace - the official residence of Queen Elizabeth II, the British Museum, the Stock Exchange, the National Gallery, the Imperial War Museum, the Tate Gallery and University College London.

Prisons, power stations, water pumping stations and sewage works around the capital were also listed.

IRA paramilitaries from 1969 went on a 30-year campaign of attacks, mainly in Northern Ireland and England, killing around 1 800 people.

In a covering letter, civil servant Bill Innes stressed it was not a "death list".

"It is a compilation of a vast amount of low-grade 'intelligence' material found in the flat, which has yet to be assessed and evaluated," he wrote.

In a handwritten note, Wilson said the information was "scrappy", pointing out that some details were out of date.

He urged police to verify the information, writing: "No doubt they will check to see how many are dead, or changed jobs or address - as a guide to age of each piece of paper."

The prime minister wrote "Yes" beside a request that the contents should not be revealed to those named on the list.

The four IRA men involved conducted a wave of bombings and murders between 1974 and 1975.

They were captured after the December 1975 siege and jailed for life in 1977.

The four were released in 1999 as part of the Good Friday Agreement, which largely ended the 30 years of violence in Northern Ireland, known as The Troubles.