Brixton Bombing: Horror of the Nail Bomb

THOUGH THE nail bomb has been used fairly regularly by terrorist groups and individuals overseas, cases on the British mainland have been rare.

A vicious device, designed to inflict maximum personal injury rather than damage to property, it is at at its most potent against crowds. Britain's worst atrocity remains the IRA's attack on the Household Cavalry in London's Hyde Park, which left four soldiers and seven horses dead. The bomb, containing 25lb (11kg) of gelignite surrounded by four- and six-inch nails and hidden in a car, was detonated by remote control as a squad of 16 rode past on 20 July, 1982. Two hours later an explosion at a Regent's Park bandstand killed seven more soldiers.

Three years ago, at the Atlanta Olympics, a nail device killed one woman, wounded 110 others and caused the fatal heart attack of a television cameraman.

Paris has been hit by repeated nail-bombings. In December 1996, two people died and 80 were injured when a device went off on a train. Two similar devices injured a total of 30 people in 1995. Islamic extremist groups were blamed forthe French attacks.

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