The Brussels Bombs Of 1983


In a world where the principal, highest profile and most inhuman form of terrorism is that associated with the perverted political philosophy of Islamism, it is easy to forget that this brand is a relatively new development in the modern world. Those old enough to remember the Provisional IRA and related groups in the British Isles, might beg to differ. Mainland Europe has also seen more than its fair share of terrorism, such as the Bologna Station bombing of August 1980, which left 85 people dead.

bologna attack

Rescue teams making their way through the rubble on 2 August 1980 (Image Credits: Beppe Briguglio, Patrizia Pulga, Medardo Pedrini, Marco Vaccari

Three years later, two huge explosions rocked the centre of the Belgian capital. Late on the evening of February 7, 1983, two car bombs went off outside the French Embassy and the main office of Air France within minutes of each other. One started a fire, and massive damage was caused, but more by good luck than judgement, no one was killed or even injured. Had they been exploded earlier in the day, it would have been a very different story.

On May 24, two more bombs were exploded in the city; this time one person was slightly hurt but did not require hospital treatment. This attack was directed at Turkish interests, and an Armenian group claimed responsibility.

At least three people claimed responsibility for the February explosions on behalf of terrorist organisations, the most credible of which was the Youth Front, a so-called right wing organisation, but no definite conclusions were drawn, and at the end of the day, nobody was held to account.

For entirely different reasons, those responsible for the current crop of outrages are seldom if ever brought to book, because the men planting the bombs are just as likely to be blown up with them as anyone in the area, shouting “Allahu Akbar!” as they do so. In case you missed 9/11, welcome to the 21st Century.


About the author

Alexander Baron