HC Deb 24 April 1986 vol 96 cc209-11W
Mr. Hickmet

asked the Prime Minister what information she has as to assistance the Libyan Government have given to the IRA and similar organisations since 1970 in the training of terrorists, the supply of arms and the supply of money; and if she will make a statement.

Mr. Mason

asked the Prime Minister if she will publish the available information showing that the Libyan Government have supported the Provisional Irish Republican Army in the training of personnel, financial assistance and the supply of arms; and if she will make a statement.

The Prime Minister

Libyan support for the provisional IRA is beyond doubt. A paper on this subject was placed in the Library of the House in 1984; a revised paper is being prepared at present and will be placed in the Library as soon as possible.

Mr. Hickmet

asked the Prime Minister (1) in what terrorist incidents or murders on mainland Britain the Libyan Government have been implicated since President Gaddafi came to power, giving details of all those killed or injured and property damaged with the date and place; and if she will make a statement;

(2) what information she has as to the incidence of terrorism sponsored by Libya in Europe; and what assessment she makes of the effect that this has, or is liable to have upon Britain, British subjects and the peace and security of Europe.

The Prime Minister

Whilst there have been no occasions when the Libyan authorities have claimed direct responsibility for specific acts of terrorism in this country, since the Libyan embassies in Europe were taken over by self-styled revolutionary committees in September 1979, information on recent Libyan involvement in terrorist activity is as follows:

March 1980

  • Libyan journalist shot in Regent's Park.

June 1980

  • Secretary-General of London Libyan People's Bureau states approval for killing of Libyan dissidents in Britain. He, and three other Libyans, expelled.

November 1980

  • Four Libyans convicted for poisoning of two children of Libyan dissident in Portsmouth.

March 1984

  • Bomb explosions in Manchester and London injuring more than 20 British citizens. Three Libyans convicted and six deported.

17 April 1984

  • WPC Fletcher shot dead by gunmen firing from Libyan People's Bureau, London. Ten Libyan dissidents injured in shooting. Resulted in seige of Libyan People's Bureau and ultimately its evacuation and closure.

21 June 1984

  • A Libyan student shot dead by Libyan gunmen in Athens.

July 1984

  • Two Libyan diplomats asked to leave London for activities incompatible with their status.

July 1984

  • Two Libyan dissidents, el Zawi and Fartaz, shot dead in Athens.

6 April 1985

  • Dinali, leading dissident shot dead in Bonn by Libyan gunman Tarhuni. Tarhuni sentenced to life imprisonment.

17 April 1985

  • Libyan Arab Airlines manager at Heathrow, London deported for anti-dissident activities.

17 April 1985

  • Libyan (Sodani) previously in United Kingdom deported from Belgium.

24 May 1985

  • Three Libyan students deported for anti-dissident activities.

September 1985

  • Egyptian police detained four-man Libyan terrorist team in Alexandria. Team were tasked to murder Bukkush, ex-Libyan prime minister. Sentenced to 25 years prison each.

27 December 1985

  • Shooting and grenade attacks at Rome and Vienna airports carried out by Abu Nidhal. Libya provided logistic support for attack in Vienna.


  • Arms found in Republic of Ireland—including boxes of ammunition stamped "Libyan Armed Forces".

3 January 1986

  • Libyan student excluded from United Kingdom for planning anti-dissident attacks.


Berlin discotheque bombing: 5 April 1986 On 25 March instructions were sent from Tripoli to the Libyan People's Bureau in East Berlin to conduct a terrorist attack against the Americans. On 4 April the Libyan People's Bureau told Tripoli the attack would be carried out the following morning. In the early hours of 5 April a bomb exploded in a discotheque frequented by United States servicemen, killing two people and injuring 230. On 5 April the Libyan People's Bureau reported to Tripoli that the operation had been carried out successfully.

Support for IRA Major arms find in Irish Republic, 26 January, included rifles and ammunition from Libya.

Paris—attempted bombing In late March intelligence uncovered a plot to attack with a bomb civilians queueing for visas at the United States embassy in Paris. France expelled two members of the Libyan People's Bureau for their involvement.

The measures we and our European Community partners agreed on 21 April should reduce the threat of such activity against our citizens and interests.

Mr. Hickmet

asked the Prime Minister what representations Her Majesty's Government have made to the Government of Libya about their support of the IRA since such support was identified; and if she will make a statement.

The Prime Minister

There is no doubt about Libyan support for the Provisional IRA. Since 1972 we have repeatedly protested to the Libyan Government about this, most recently at the last meeting between British and Libyan officials in Rome in March 1985.

Mr. Hickmet

asked the Prime Minister what action Her Majesty's Government have taken since President Gaddafi came to power to seek to deter Libya from sponsoring state terrorism; with what result; and if she will make a statement.

The Prime Minister

Our action has included repeated representations to the Libyan authorities, diplomatic action with and through other friendly Governments, breaking off diplomatic relations, expulsion of diplomats and other Libyans from the United Kingdom, imposition of a strict visa regime and a ban on new defence contracts. These measures we have taken have had some effect in reducing the ability of the Libyan authorities to sponsor and conduct terrorist attacks in the United Kingdom.