EIGHTEEN people were injured, two seriously, when an IRA bomb exploded in a crowded north London high street at lunchtime yesterday. Police were evacuating a different area at the time after a misleading warning.
The device exploded in a waste bin as police were clearing the north end of Camden High Street, moving some people towards the area where the bomb was placed.
Scotland Yard said a telephone warning, using a recognised code, was given shortly after 12 noon. It said that a bomb had been planted outside a fast food store in Oxford Street.
Twelve minutes later, another warning said a bomb had been planted outside a fast food store at the north end of Camden High Street, near Camden Lock market several hundred yards from the scene of the blast, which occurred 28 minutes later.
Two people, both in their twenties, were taken to University College Hospital - a man with leg and neck injuries and a women with multiple leg injuries.
At least 10 other people, including three children and a police officer, were treated at the hospital and the Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead; all had minor injuries and shock. A boy aged about 10 suffered severe shock and bruising and a four-year-old girl had a cut leg. Some casualties were treated in a public house.
Jekin Patel, deputy manager of a supermarket on the opposite side of the road, said: 'There was no warning.
'We were not told and people were still walking past. We felt the earth move when we heard the blast. We knew what it was although we never expected it to happen here. We were frozen. There was sheer panic with women with children running around.'
Kathleen Turner was talking to a friend on a stall selling underwear opposite where the bomb went off. 'There was a huge bang and I saw this man being thrown into the air. We just ducked down on to the stall and then the police started moving everyone. They had stopped the traffic but no one told us there had been a bomb warning.'
Anti-terrorist branch detectives in London were interviewing two men arrested on the M62 near Warrington after the shooting of a policeman and the explosion at a gasworks in the town. The two were taken to high security Paddington Green police station during the night. They are also being questioned about other recent IRA attacks.
In Nottingham yesterday, detectives were still questioning two men and a women arrested on Friday morning. The arrests followed the discovery of an abandoned Mazda van, which had been stopped by the policeman in Warrington on Thursday night. The constable, still recovering in hospital, was shot twice by one of the occupants of the van. A third man, said to be armed and dangerous, is still on the run.
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