Nov. 18 (UPI) — British counter-terrorism officers arrested a 65-year-old man Wednesday in connection with the 1974 IRA-linked bombing of a Birmingham pub that killed 21 people.
The arrest follows a West Midlands police investigation with counter-terrorism police and detectives from Northern Ireland. The case still touches a nerve in the country after convictions of six suspects in the bombing were overturned on appeal in 1991.
Midland Police said the suspect was arrested at his home in Belfast.
“The man was arrested under the Terrorism Act and a search of his home is being carried out,” Midland police said in a statement. “He will be interviewed under caution at a police station in Northern Ireland.”
An investigation last year said an IRA warning call, which was part of the militant organization’s protocol at the time, was not made to a phone box meant to warn pub patrons because it was vandalized and didn’t work.
Families of the bombing victims and their supporters had been pressing Home Secretary Priti Patel to open a new investigation into the bombing after West Midlands Mayor Andy Street made an issue of the unsolved incident months earlier.
Along with the 21 deaths, 182 people were injured in the explosion.
“I couldn’t speak,” Julie Hambelton, whose 18-year-old sister was killed in the bombing, said on learning about the arrest. “I was just inconsolable and was just looking at the picture of Maxine. It’s welcome news. It’s overwhelming news. It’s tangible progress.”