Victims of IRA attacks linked to Libyan explosives reject Government sympathy

Families bereaved following an IRA bombing using Libyan Semtex have rejected the UK Government’s sympathies.

The Foreign Office said it was committed to supporting British victims’ efforts to secure compensation from the Libyan authorities, but survivors and relatives branded official efforts so far a disgrace.

Gemma Berrezag committed suicide in 2016 after spending years caring for her husband.

Zaoui Berrezag was left in critical care and suffered extensive head and chest injuries following the 1996 blast.

His son Farid said: “My mother, who had cared for my severely disabled dad for over 20 years due to the horrific injuries he sustained in the IRA bomb blast in Docklands in 1996, died prematurely in 2016 due to severe depression.

“I’m sorry but I hold successive UK governments responsible for her death due to the stress and pain caused by her own government.

“Successive UK governments refused to help her in attempts to secure compensation for my poor Dad and for others left severely injured due to Colonel Muammar Gaddafi sponsorship of IRA terrorism.

“It broke her heart that other countries such as US, France and Germany managed to secure victims’ compensation from Gaddafi and managed to obtain better medical care for their victims.”

Libyan dictator Gaddafi supplied high explosives to the IRA which were eventually used at London’s Docklands, the Harrods bombing and others.

Those bereaved have been pressing for compensation for years.

The Foreign Office wrote to the Docklands Victims Association (DVA).

It said: “The Libyan Government has a responsibility to deal with the legacy of the Qadhafi regime, as part of a broad process of national and international reconciliation and justice.

“The Government continues to press the Libyan authorities to engage constructively on this matter.”

The letter added: “We would also like to reiterate our deepest sympathy for the victims. Cases such as that of Mrs Berrezag are deeply tragic.”

William Shawcross has been appointed as the Foreign Secretary’s special representative on the issue of securing compensation.

Mr Berrezag said he did not accept the Government’s sympathies.

He said: “My mother desperately pleaded with successive UK governments to also secure compensation for its citizens left severely disabled as she desperately wanted to provide better medical care for my dad and to gain help for other victims who had been also left severely disabled.

“However, she was told on numerous occasions by successive UK governments that this was a private matter and she should resolve this by herself with the Libyan government.

Myself and my sister Layla were also injured as I had been with my Dad in his car and sustained a number of shrapnel injuries that damaged my body which still impacted my life today.

“However, I shall never forget the horrific sight of seeing my Dad who had unimaginable injuries which still haunt me today.”