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‘Abandoned’ survivors of 1996 IRA Canary Wharf bombing meet Home Secretary in move for compensation

PUBLISHED: 13:00 15 December 2017 | UPDATED: 19:39 15 December 2017

Canary Wharf bomb victim's brother Immam Bashir (left) on delegation to Home Secretary with Lord Tebbit (centre) and Docklands campaigner Jonathan Ganesh in Whitehall. Behind is Susan Dodd whose father Pol Insp Stephen Dodd died in IRA Harrod’s bombing. Picture: Docklands Victims Assoc

Canary Wharf bomb victim's brother Immam Bashir (left) on delegation to Home Secretary with Lord Tebbit (centre) and Docklands campaigner Jonathan Ganesh in Whitehall. Behind is Susan Dodd whose father Pol Insp Stephen Dodd died in IRA Harrod’s bombing. Picture: Docklands Victims Assoc

Docklands Victims Assoc

Survivors from the IRA Canary Wharf bombing 22 years ago accused the government of abandoning their long-running quest for compensation when they met the Home Secretary.

1996 IRA bomb carnage at Canary Wharf. Picture source: Republic Gallery 1996 IRA bomb carnage at Canary Wharf. Picture source: Republic Gallery

Some survivors need lifelong care or financial support for conditions caused by the blast that ripped through the Midland Bank HQ in South Quay and devastated Millwall’s nearby Barkantine Estate.

The meeting with Amber Rudd by the Docklands Victims Association and other UK survivor groups was set up by Lord Tebbit - a victim himself of the IRA bombing Brighton’s Grand Hotel during a Tory Party conference in the town in the 1980s.

Lord Tebbit, whose wife was left in a wheelchair, accompanied the Docklands association’s founder Jonathan Ganesh and other survivors of atrocities all over the UK.

Jonathan Ganesh being rescued by stretcher from IRA Canary Wharf bombing. Picture: East London Advertiser 1996 Jonathan Ganesh being rescued by stretcher from IRA Canary Wharf bombing. Picture: East London Advertiser 1996

“We are fighting for justice and told the Home Secretary how survivors still suffer,” Jonathan told the East London Advertiser after the Whitehall meeting.

“Some survivors are in care who have had to sell their homes to pay for it.

“We feel betrayed, that the government has abandoned us for 20 years.”

Zaoui Berrzagg, in a wheelchair for life and now in a care home, who was injured in 1996 IRA bombing. Picture: Mike Brooke Zaoui Berrzagg, in a wheelchair for life and now in a care home, who was injured in 1996 IRA bombing. Picture: Mike Brooke

Jonathan was a Midland Bank security guard-turned-hero when the IRA bomb was detonated in 1996. He was trapped in the rubble, yet still managing to get others to safety before his own rescue.

But the blast killed his two friends at a South Quay newsagent’s close by, owner Immam Bashir, who was 29, and shopworker John Jeffries, 25.

Immam’s brother Ihsan Bashir, now 53, was part of Lord Tebbit’s delegation to Amber Rudd on Wednesday.

South Quay newsagents where Immam Bashir and John Jeffries died in 1996, now a fast food outlet. Picture: Mike Brooke South Quay newsagents where Immam Bashir and John Jeffries died in 1996, now a fast food outlet. Picture: Mike Brooke

The 50 injured in the Canary Wharf blast included families on the Barkantine Estate like Zaoui Berrzagg, in a wheelchair for life and now in a care home, and his son and daughter.

The delegation pressed the Home Secretary for action as a Bill was going through Parliament this week in a second attempt to release frozen assets of the dead Libyan dictator Colonel Gaddafi.

It was Gaddafi’s regime that supplied the IRA with Semtex used in bomb attacks in mainland Britain, including Canary Wharf and St Ethelburga’s Church in Bishopsgate.

Memorial to Immam Bashir and John Jeffries killed in IRA 1996 Canary Wharf bomb outrage, Picture: Mike Brooke Memorial to Immam Bashir and John Jeffries killed in IRA 1996 Canary Wharf bomb outrage, Picture: Mike Brooke

The Docklands campaigners were angered over Theresa May’s government wrecking a previous attempt in parliament to use Gaddafi’s assets held in London.

Now the Home Secretary has promised to look into the compensation issue, to help the survivors reach ‘closure’ after so many years.

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