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On July 21, 1972, explosions rocked Belfast, the capital of Northern Ireland.
At around 1 p.m., the bomb disposal team got their first of many calls that day. Explosives were found under the Albert Bridge. More calls started coming in, and multiple bomb scares began.
9-year-old Philip Gault and his mother had to leave their shopping excursion because of a bomb scares. On their detour, Philip leaned against a vehicle, a car that contained a 50 pound bomb. At 2.40 p.m., it exploded, marking the first blast of the day. Philip was blown 10 feet into the air, but survived.
23 bombs were planted in and around Belfast city center and as they started going off, everything descended into chaos. People began running from one blast site only to run into another new explosion. The bombing lasted a whopping hour and 20 minutes. In total, 9 people were killed, including two British soldiers and five civilians. 130 people were injured in the bombings. At least 20 of the bombs exploded and the rest failed to detonate or were defused.
The Provisional IRA was responsible for the terrorism. In part, the bombings were a response to the breakdown of talks between the IRA and the British government. The IRA was responsible for a total of 1,300 bombings in 1972, mostly aimed at economic, military and political targets in Northern Ireland. The IRA was an Irish, republican, socialist paramilitary organization that wanted the British government to withdraw from Northern Ireland.
The day became known as “Bloody Friday.”