Worst terrorist attacks in terms of fatalities in the United Kingdom 1970-2017

Since 1970 the worst terrorist attack in the United Kingdom was the downing of Pan Am Flight 103 in December 1988 above Lockerbie, Scotland, which caused 270 fatalities. Of the ten attacks worst terrorist attacks in the UK, six were related to the troubles in Northern Ireland while three were linked to Islamic extremism, including the Manchester Arena bombing and London Bridge attacks of 2017.

Are terrorist attacks in the UK on the rise?


Between 2000 and 2018 the three years with the highest number of terrorist attacks in the UK all occurred relatively recently, in 2014, 2015, and 2017. Although 2018 saw a drop in the number of attacks compared with these years, the 60 attacks recorded in this year is still far higher than the relatively low number of attacks that happened between 2002 and 2013.

A global threat


In 2018, almost 33 thousand people lost their lives due to terrorism, with Afghanistan suffering the highest number of attacks at almost 3 thousand. The UK was not alone in seeing the intensity of terror attacks increase from 2014 onwards either, with the four worst years since 2006 being 2014, 2015 and 2018.

Worst terrorist attacks in terms of fatalities in the United Kingdom from 1970 to 2017

Number of fatalities
Lockerbie (1988)270
London 7/7 attacks (2005)*56
Omagh bombing (1998)29
Manchester Arena bombing (2017)23
Warrenpoint (1979)18
Ballykelly (1982)16
McGurk's Bar bombing, Belfast (1971)15
La Mon restaurant bombing (1978)14
M62 coach bombing, Batley (1974)12
London Bridge attack (2017)11
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Source

Release date

July 2018

Region

United Kingdom

Survey time period

1970 to 2017

Supplementary notes

* Listed as four separate attacks by the source, but combined here. GTD IDs are as follows;
20050707001
20050707002
20050707003
20050707004

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Statistics on "Terrorism"

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