Incident Summary:

05/05/2003: A "substantial" bomb was left in a van by two masked men in Belfast, North Ireland, in front of the motor tax office few hours before the annual Belfast marathon. The owner of the van called the police who defused the bomb before it exploded. Police suspected that the Real Irish Republican Army (RIRA)was responsible for the incident.



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 Motor Tax Department
Specific Description A motor tax office in Belfast, Northern Ireland
Nationality of Target Northern Ireland
Additional Information
Hostages No
Ransom No
Property Damage No
Weapon Information
Type Sub-type
Explosives Unknown Explosive Type
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
Additional Information Police suspected Real Irish Republican Army (RIRA)because they had left a van packed with explosives outside a court complex known as Laganside in Belfast in March 2003. It is the owner of the van who called the police after he had been forced to park his vehicle in front of the motor tax office by two gunmen. The same day was organized the annual marathon of Belfast which could have been disrupted.
Perpetrator Group Information
Group Name Claimed Responsibility
Real Irish Republican Army (RIRA) (suspected) No
Perpetrator Statistics
Number of Perpetrators 2
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
Ian Graham, "Republicans blamed for pre-charity race bomb," Press Association, May 05, 2003.
Suzanne Breen, "Real Irish Republican Army (RIRA)blamed for bomb attack in North," The Irish Times, May 06, 2003.
"Car bomb defused in Belfast before city marathon, Real Irish Republican Army (RIRA)blamed," Agence France Presse, May 05, 2005.