IRA ‘tried to kill Queen’s husband’ during Australia visit
March 10, 2014 Leave a comment
By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org
The Provisional Irish Republican Army tried to assassinate Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh and husband of Queen Elizabeth II, during an official Royal visit to Australia in the early 1970s, according to a new book. The claim is detailed in the book Shadow of a Spy, written by Warner Russell, a veteran Australian reporter and retired military intelligence officer. The alleged assassination attempt was uncovered in Sydney on March 15, 1973, during the Prince’s two-day visit to Australia. While there, the Queen’s husband attended a conservation meeting and led an official opening ceremony of a Royal Australian Air Force war memorial in capital city Canberra. According to Russell, two “crude explosive devices” were discovered in Sydney at locations that had been scheduled to be visited by the British Royal entourage. The first device was detected in a trash can in Dowling Street, in Sydney’s downtown Potts Point neighborhood. The second device was found inside a luggage locker at Sydney’s Central Station, a few miles away from the location of the first bomb. The book claims that the two other “suspicious packages” were found, one in a local government building located across the street from an officer’s club that the Prince was due to visit, and another in a trash can at Taylor Square, less than a mile from Central Station. Eventually, the two “suspicious packages” were determined to be “decoys”, says Russell. But the other two devices contained explosive material and were defused by an Australian Army bomb disposal team before being secretly taken to a forensic laboratory for examination. Russell claims that the bombs were defused just minutes before Prince Philip’s group arrived at the two Sydney locations, and Australian authorities were so nervous that they ordered the Prince’s motorcycle escort and protection team to “take evasive action” as they approached Dowling Street. The author said he was able to monitor the situation from his desk at The Sun, a Sydney-based tabloid newspaper, where Russell worked at the time. He and his colleagues, he said, were able to monitor police reports on the explosive devices through the police’s radio frequency. The alleged attempt came less than two months after the events of Bloody Sunday, when a parachute unit of the British Army opened fire on an Irish republican rally in Derry, killing over a dozen Catholic protesters. The massacre caused a huge upsurge in the popularity of the IRA, which proceeded to declare war on the British government’s presence in Northern Ireland. Russell adds in his book that Australian authorities kept the would-be bombing incident secret so as not to “inspire ‘copy-cat’ dissident groups” from trying to “further disrupt the Prince’s visit” to the country.