New hope for compensation for victims of 1996 Canary Wharf Gaddafi-sponsored IRA bombing
PUBLISHED: 20:25 14 July 2014 | UPDATED: 15:18 17 July 2014
Victims of the IRA bombing in Canary Wharf 18 years ago have welcomed news that the government is finally sending an envoy to Libya to seek compensation for sponsored terrorism by Gaddafi’s regime.
The Prime Minister’s national security adviser is opening negotiations for compensation for victims of the semtex bombing which wrecked the Midland Bank HQ in February, 1996, and shattered other tower blocks as well as Millwall’s nearby Barkantine estate.
Sir Kim Darroch is holding talks with the Libyan authorities to secure money for the families of the two men who died and the 52 others maimed or injured when the IRA detonated a lorry loaded with plastic explosives supplied by Gaddafi’s regime.
His visit was welcomed by former Canary Wharf bank security guard Jonathan Ganesh, founder of the Docklands Victims’ Association.
“I’m hoping both governments work together to bring closure to all the victims of this brutal regime,” he told the Advertiser.
“We have been working with Libyan victims who also suffered by Gaddafi’s brutality and are pleased that Sir Kim will be discussing these matters with the Libyan government.”
Jonathan was carried out on a stretcher by rescuers after being trapped by rubble—following his own heroism helping injured bank workers caught in the blast.
Two men who died in the atrocity were working in a newsagent’s in South Plaza which caught the full impact of the blast.
People on the Barkantine Estate were injured by flying glass, including Zaoui Berezag who had brain damage and later had to have a leg amputated and is now paralysed and blind. The bomb went off as he sat in his car nearby.
Pressure to secure a deal has been growing ever since behind-the-scenes intervention by Tony Blair led to American victims of IRA terrorism receiving Libyan compensation when Gaddafi was still in power—while victims in east London and Northern Ireland received nothing.
Even before then, Jonathan Gannesh had a meeting in Downing Street in 2008 in a bid to step up the campaign for compensation, first reported in the East London Advertiser.
Six years on, details of Sir Kim’s visit to Libya came in a letter from Foreign Secretary William Hague to the Commons foreign affairs committee which has been examining legacy issues from the Gaddafi era.