Manchester IRA 1996 bomb: man arrested at Birmingham Airport over terrorist attack which injured 250 people

The incident was described as the UK mainland’s largest bomb since World War Two.

A man has been arrested in connection with the 1996 Manchester IRA bombing, police have said.

The bombing, which took place in Manchester city centre, injured around 250 people in what was described as the UK mainland’s largest bomb since World War Two.

No one was killed in the attack on 15 June 1996.

The current suspect was arrested and taken into custody at Birmingham Airport yesterday (8 September) on suspicion of terrorism offences.

The bombing came amid a wave of attacks by the IRA across the United Kingdom. Credit: Getty Images

His arrest is in connection with enquiries into the IRA bomb detonation, Greater Manchester Police have said.

Head of investigations Det Supt Andrew Meeks said: “Although thankfully no one was killed during the 1996 Manchester bombing by the IRA, hundreds of people were left with injuries - many of which were life changing.”

He added that “many more across Greater Manchester and the North West were affected by what happened on that day”.

No one has ever been charged with the 1996 incident in Manchester, but the police have stressed their commitment to “holding those responsible for the attack to account and bringing them to justice.”

The bombing took place on Corporation Street in Manchester city centre. Credit: Getty Images

The 3,300 lb bomb detonated when thousands of shoppers and football fans had gathered in Manchester city centre ahead of the Euro 1996 match between England and Scotland.

The match was taking place at Wembley Stadium in London later that day.

Police evacuated more than 75,000 people from the area after they were alerted to a bomb threat, but people were still injured when the device exploded from inside a lorry parked on Corporation Street.

Local television stations had received a telephone warning using a recognised IRA codeword at 10am and the bomb detonated an hour and 20 minutes later.

Despite the attack, another Euro 1996 match was still held at Old Trafford.

At the time, the bombing had come amid a series of attacks by the IRA that were carried out for decades across the UK.

Targets included military buildings, pubs, the government, shops and banks, with two people killed by an attack in London’s Docklands area mere months before the incident in Manchester.

Police have said the arrest is in connection with enquiries into the IRA bomb detonation. Credit: Getty Images

In the coming days, the man will be interviewed by officers from the North West’s Counter Terrorism Police.

Greater Manchester Police say they have a team of dedicated detectives “re-examining the original case files and pursuing new lines of inquiry” and have made sure to “contact individuals who were victims of this horrific attack to ensure that they are updated” on the events.

Det Supt Meeks added: “We know for many people this will bring back memories of that terrible day and we are doing all we can to support our communities and those who were affected.”

Police also asked anyone who had been affected by the bombing who had not been contacted by police to access the Major Incident Portal.