White doves of peace released to mark 20th anniversary of IRA bombing Canary Wharf
- Credit: Docklands Victims Assoc
A memorial service is being held at Canary Wharf today for the 20th anniversary of the devastating IRA terrorist bombing in which two men were killed and 50 people injured.
Twenty white doves of peace are being released at South Quay at 1pm, on the date of the blast outside the former Midland Bank HQ when a lorry packed with semtex was detonated at 7pm on February 9, 1996.
The blast wrecked the tower block and shook Millwall’s Barkantine housing estate close by.
Among the injured was bank security guard Jonathan Ganesh, who dug his way out of the wreckage and guided the walking wounded to safety before collapsing himself and having to be rescued by stretcher.
“It was the worst moment of my life,” he told the East London Advertiser last night. “I thought I would die, that death had come to me and that would be the end of it.
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“I heard the blast and bits of shrapnel hit me. The worst was the glass cutting into me.”
The semtex used had been supplied to the IRA by Libya’s dictator Colonel Gadaffi.
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Mr Ganesh, who received an award for his bravery rescuing others despite his own severe wounds, later set up the Docklands Victims’ Association to campaign for the government to press the Libyans for compensation.
It still campaigns today for those injured and for relatives of Inam Bashir, 29, the owner of the news kiosk where the bomb exploded, and his assistant John Jeffries, 27, the two men killed in the blast.
Foreign Office minister Tobias Ellwood joins the inter-faith service at South Quay, which is being conducted by Tower Hamlets Interfaith Forum chairman Alan Green, Rector at of John at Bethnal Green.
Survivors from last year’s Paris atrocities and the London 7/7 bombings in 2005 are also planning to attend.