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U.K. Police Arrest Man Over 1974 Birmingham Pub Bombings That Killed 21

A police officer stands before damage caused by one of two pub bombings in 1974 in Birmingham, England.
Daily Express/Hulton Archive
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A police officer stands before damage caused by one of two pub bombings in 1974 in Birmingham, England.

Nearly 46 years ago, terrorists placed bombs in Birmingham, England. The explosions ripped apart two pubs, killing 21 people and injuring about 200.

Six men were sentenced to life in prison in 1975 in connection with the terrorist act, but 16 years later their convictions were thrown out. The men were released and compensated in one of the country's most notorious miscarriages of justice.

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

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

The man will be interviewed and his home searched. British police do not typically release a suspect's name until charges are filed.

Last month, British Home Secretary Priti Patel said the government would consider a public inquiry into the bombing, following years of campaigning by the victims' families, according to The Independent.

The Irish Republican Army is believed to have been behind the attack, but it never claimed responsibility, according to Reuters.

The bombings caused the largest single loss of life on the British mainland during the 30 years of conflict known as "The Troubles," between mostly Catholic nationalists and Protestants, according to Reuters. More than 3,600 people were killed in the decades-long conflict.

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

Reese Oxner is an intern on NPR's News Desk.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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