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British police arrest man for deadly bombings at pub in Birmingham in 1974, killing 21: NPR



A police officer is facing damage caused by one of two bombings in pubs in 1974 in Birmingham, England.

Daily Express / Hulton Archive / Getty Images


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Daily Express / Hulton Archive / Getty Images

A police officer is facing damage caused by one of the two explosions in pubs in 1974 in Birmingham, England.

Daily Express / Hulton Archive / Getty Images

Nearly 46 years ago, terrorists planted bombs in Birmingham, England. The blasts tore apart two pubs, killing 21 people and injuring about 200.

Six men were sentenced to life in prison in 1975 for the terrorist act, but their sentences were overturned 16 years later. The men were released and compensated in one of the most notorious miscarriages of justice in the country.

For years, the case has been quiet, with no additional arrests.

That changed this week. Police arrested a 65-year-old man on Wednesday in Belfast, Northern Ireland, in connection with the attack, days before the 46th anniversary of the November 21, 1974 attack.

The man will be interviewed and his home will be searched. British police do not usually release a suspect until a charge is filed.

Last month, British Home Secretary Priti Patel said the government would consider a public investigation into the attack after years of campaigns by the victims’ families, according to The Independent.

The Irish Republican Army is believed to be behind the attack, but has never claimed responsibility, according to Reuters.

The attacks caused the largest single death in mainland Britain in 30 years of conflict, known as the “Problems”, between predominantly Catholic nationalists and Protestants, according to Reuters. More than 3,600 people were killed in the long-running conflict.

The Irish Republican Army struggled to force Britain out of Northern Ireland, but the conflict officially ended with the 1998 Good Friday Agreement.

Reese Oxner is an intern at the NPR news office.


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