Posts Tagged ‘Fraunces Tavern bombing’

The LaGuardia Airport Christmas bomb of 1975

December 29, 2010

It was mostly forgotten in time and overshadowed by 9/11. Thirty-five years later, the case remains unsolved.

It happened on December 29, 1975. A bomb with an equivalent force of 25 sticks of dynamite had been placed in a locker adjacent to a luggage carousel.

At 6:30 pm, as LaGuardia bustled with travelers, the bomb went off, collapsing the floor and ceiling and hurling shrapnel from the lockers into the air.

Eleven people were killed, mostly by shrapnel wounds, and 79 injured.

So who could have been responsible? Investigators initially suspected the Puerto Rican separatist group FALN, which took credit for the lethal bombing at Fraunces Tavern earlier that year.

The PLO and JDL were also on the short list. But nothing led police back to these groups.

Then in 1976, after a hijacking from LaGuardia by a Croatian nationalist, investigators thought they finally had a suspect.

But after the hijacker was arrested in Paris, he didn’t take responsibility. Law enforcement officials consider him the strongest possible suspect, but to this day, he maintains his innocence.

A deadly terrorist strike downtown

May 5, 2010

Saturday’s failed car bomb in Times Square brings to mind other bombings in crowded city spaces over the years.

Like in the 1970s, when the terrorist group FALN, seeking independence for Puerto Rico, planted several bombs in midtown and downtown.

Their deadliest attack: setting off explosives in Fraunces Tavern, the 18th century tavern in the financial district.

It happened on January 24, when the place was packed with a lunch crowd. Four men were instantly killed, and dozens were injured. The New York Times reported the next day:

“Victims in the tavern restaurant and the second-floor dining room of the adjacent Anglers Club were hurled from their tables in a confusion of screams and flying debris as the blast erupted just inside the front doorway of 101 Broad Street.”

The FALN quickly took responsibility for the bombing, but no one was ever charged.

Eventually, 16 FALN members were locked away for playing behind the scenes roles in other acts of terror. In 1999, President Clinton commuted their sentences.