Two held over mortar attacks on Heathrow

 

Anti terrorist police were still questioning two men last night about the IRA mortar bomb attacks on Heathrow Airport in March 1994, writes Frank Miller.

The two were arrested in dawn raids yesterday at addresses in West Cromwell Road and Warwick Road near Earl's Court, in west London.

Some 30 officers, from the Metropolitan Police and the specialist firearms unit, were believed involved in the operation directed by the anti terrorist squad and Special Branch. No shots were fired during the operation.

A Scotland Yard spokeswoman confirmed the arrests under the Prevention of Terrorism Act, adding that the two men were "in custody in a central London police station in connection with the Heathrow mortar attacks in March 1994".

A dozen mortar bombs were fired at Heathrow in three separate attacks within days of each other in 1994, following the publication of the Downing Street declaration and amid speculation about an IRA ceasefire.

None of the mortars exploded but one landed on the roof of Terminal Four, while others narrowly missed parked aircraft.

In the first attack, four bombs were launched from a car parked at the Excelsior Hotel, landing near the north runway. Less than 30 hours later another four bombs were launched, this time from a small copse, landing just short of the south runway near Terminal Four. In the third attack another four bombs were fired, three hitting the tarmac some 50 yards from waiting aircraft.