Two decades after the IRA Docklands bombing which killed two people, injured 39 others and caused extensive damage to the surrounding area, a memorial service is being held for survivors and victims’ families and friends.
Inam Bashir, 29 and John Jeffries, 31 who worked at Newstop 2000, the newsagents directly opposite the explosion, were killed in the blast. The IRA had sent a warning 90 minutes beforehand, but the shop where the two were working was not evacuated in time.
The bomb went off at 7:01pm on February 9, 1996. It was hidden in a lorry parked close to South Quay DLR station and caused £100 million worth of damage. The shockwave from the blast could be felt as far away as Barking, causing windows to rattle. It marked an end to the two-year ceasefire between the UK Government and the IRA.
A multi-faith memorial service is to be held tomorrow, February 9 at 1pm at South Quay station. The mayor of Tower Hamlets John Biggs is also expected to pay his respects.
Victim Inam Bashir’s mother, said: “It will be very sad and heart-breaking to attend my son’s and John’s memorial service. I’m so touched that after 20 years the community has never forgotten my poor son and his friend John.”
Joyce Brown, a cleaner at Midland Bank, a building that was also damaged by the bomb, said: “It is a day that East London will never forget. I was cleaning the toilets in the bank and the ceiling tiles came crushing down on my head. I was petrified.
“The boys in the newspaper shop were loved by all who know them. I still think of them.”
President of the Docklands Victims Association Jonathan Ganesh said: “I can’t believe it is 20 years since the IRA, with the help of Gaddafi, blew up the London Docklands.
“It only seems like yesterday that I was trying to dig my way out of the rubble. I still deeply miss my friends Inam and JJ.”
The service will also be open to those affected by other terrorist attacks including the 1983 Harrods bombing, 7/7 London 2005 attacks, the Paris attacks and the Mumbai bombings.
Ganesh added that 20 white doves will be released “as a symbol of peace” and “to symbolise our desire to end all terrorist violence.”
The service will be held tomorrow February 9 at 1pm at South Quay Station, Marsh Wall.
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