Incident Summary:

03/12/2003: Police carried out a controlled explosion of a bomb planted at the Laganside Courthouse by Real Irish Republican Army (RIRA)members in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Three masked men hijacked a van and forced the driver to take the bomb to the courthouse; the driver then reported the device to the police, who said that the device could have gone off at any time. The attempted attack took place on the same day that Ulster Unionist leader, David Trimble, and Sinn Fein president, Gerry Adams, prepared to meet President George Bush at the White House in attempts to reach an agreement to reestablish the Stormont government. SDLP (Social Democratic and Labor Party) assembly member Alban Maginness speculated that the attempted attack was an "opportunist attack ... to distract attention from the American visits and attract attention to themselves."



United Kingdom

Western Europe

region/u.s. state:

Northern Ireland


Location Details:
Belfast (Capital City)

Attack Information
Type of Attack (more) Bombing/Explosion
Successful Attack? (more) No
Target Information (more)
Target Type: Government (General)
Name of Entity Northern Ireland Courthouse
Specific Description Laganside Courthouse in Belfast, Northern Ireland
Nationality of Target Northern Ireland
Additional Information
Hostages No
Ransom No
Property Damage No
Weapon Information
Type Sub-type
Explosives Time Fuse
Weapon Details
The device consisted of three pipe bombs and a timer attached to 75 liters of oil.
Additional Information
Suicide Attack?No
Part of Multiple Incident?No
Criterion 1 (more) Yes
Criterion 2 (more) Yes
Criterion 3 (more) Yes
Doubt Terrorism Proper (more) No
Perpetrator Group Information
Group Name Claimed Responsibility
Real Irish Republican Army (RIRA) Yes (Confirmed: Unknown; Mode: Call (post-incident))
Perpetrator Statistics
Number of Perpetrators 3
Number of Captured Perpetrators 0
Casualty Information
Total Number of Casualties 0 Fatalities / 0 Injured
Total Number of Fatalities 0
Number of U.S. Fatalities 0
Number of Perpetrator Fatalities 0
Total Number of Injured 0
Number of U.S. Injured 0
Number of Perpetrators Injured 0
"N Ireland: Dissident Republicans Blamed for Bomb at Belfast Courthouse,” The Guardian, March 14, 2003.
“N Ireland: Real Irish Republican Army (RIRA)Admits Responsibility for Bomb at Belfast Courthouse,” The Irish News, March 14, 2003.