Congressman Peter King has stated the difference between the IRA and Al Qaeda is that the IRA never killed Americans.
In December 1983 a car bomb was placed in a side street outside Harrods in Knightsbridge at the height of the Christmas shopping season.
The bomb contained between 25 and 30 lb of explosives and was left in a 1972 blue Austin car
A report of the incident at the time notes ;
At 12:44, a man using an IRA codeword phoned the central London branch of the Samaritans.
The caller said there were bombs inside and outside Harrods, specifying the registration number of the car, but not its make or color.
At about 1:21, four police officers in a car, a dog handler, and an officer on foot approached the car when the bomb went off
The police car absorbed much of the blast, probably reducing other casualties.
Six people were killed; three passers-by (including one citizen of the United States), and three Metropolitan Police officers Those killed were: Philip Geddes (journalist, 24), Kenneth Salvesen (28), Jasmine Cochrane-Patrick (25), Police Sergeant Noel Lane (28), and Police Constable Jane Arbuthnot (22).
Police Inspector Stephen Dodd (34) was fatally injured and died on 24 December. Police Constable Jon Gordon survived, but lost both legs and part of a hand in the blast.
90 others were injured, many seriously.
An Associated Press report at the time stated that "People were ... running from the scene, their faces absolutely covered in blood _ children, old people, men and women." said Jackie McPherson of Hamilton, Scotland, who was in a store 50 yards from Harrods.
"There was a tremendous explosion. There was blood everywhere," said 22-year-old Michael Francis. "One policeman had an eye hanging from its socket. He was very brave. I can't describe the horror of it," said the young man, who was standing outside the store when the bomb went off."
Among the dead was the 28-year old young American, Kenneth Salvesan, a businessman from Chicago. Severely injured was an Irish American, Mark McDonald from Michigan. He was later visited by Prince Charles and Lady Diana in hospital.
The bomb prompted Margaret Thatcher to write to Ronald Reagan demanding he crack down on Irish Northern Aid, the Republican support group in America, which King supported
All those killed and injured were utterly innocent, there was no attempt to claim it was a military target.
It was as bad as anything Al Qaeda could have pulled off .