Terror plot reminiscent of IRA attacks

The van used in the 1991 IRA attack on Downing Street.

An alleged plot to kill prime minister Theresa May in Downing Street, is reminiscent an attack by the IRA which struck at the heart of British government.

In 1991 the IRA launched a mortar attack on Downing Street during a meeting of John Major's Tory war cabinet as they met at Number 10 to discuss the Gulf War.

While one of the shells landed in the garden of the prime minister's residence, shaking the building, two further mortars over-shot Downing Street and failed to explode.

The attack, which caused widespread panic and evacuation of a large part of the capital,was launched from a van left in nearby Whitehall.

Four people received minor injuries, including two police officers patrolling the area. However the fortified nature of the building ensured there were no serious injuries.

The IRA claimed the February 1991 attack, which was seen by republicans at the time as a major propaganda coup.

In 1974 the IRA tried to kill outgoing prime minister Edward Health, leaving a bomb at his home in Victoria in London. He wasn't at home at the time but arrived back just minutes after the explosion.

Republicans also tried to murder Conservative prime minister Margaret Thatcher on numerous occasions, the most serious of which was the October 1984 Brighton bomb.

Mrs Thatcher narrowly avoided being assassinated when the IRA bombed the Grand Hotel in Brighton during the party's annual conference.

While Mrs Thatcher survived the attack five people died and 31 were injured, some seriously.

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