On this day in history: 17th December 1983 – An IRA terrorist car bomb explodes outside Harrods Department Store, in Knightsbridge, Central London – killing 6 people and injuring a further 92….
At 12.44pm a call, using a code word, was made to the Central London branch of the Samaritans…. The caller said there was a car bomb outside Harrods and a further two bombs inside the store…. The car registration number was given but not a description of the car…. It was also claimed that further bombs had been placed on Oxford Street and in the Littlewoods store on Oxford Street…. Much of the message proved to be false information – and the police had already received 22 similar calls about suspicious devices that day – all of which were false alarms…. However, following receipt of the warning, the police immediately started to search – but did not evacuate the area….
At just before 1.30pm, on one of the busiest shopping days of the year, a Saturday just before Christmas, a car bomb containing 25-30lb of explosives and detonated by a timer, exploded…. It had been placed inside a 1972 blue Austin 1300 GT 4-door saloon car, parked close to the side entrance of Harrods, in Hans Crescent…. Five people died at the scene and another later in hospital…. Of these six, three were police officers and three were members of the public; a reporter, an American citizen and a young mother…. Another 92 people were injured, including 14 police officers….
Home Secretary, Leon Brittan, expressed his revulsion at such a cold-blooded and cowardly attack…. The day following the bombing the IRA admitted responsibility….
As a result Scotland Yard increased security in Central London – hundreds of extra police and mobile bomb squads were drafted in…. Harrods, despite the damage, reopened three days later….the owners said they would not be defeated by acts of terrorism….