[ 2007-05-15 08:00 ]
|The device was tested at
high altitude over Christmas Island|
|1957: Britain drops its first
Britain has exploded its first hydrogen bomb as part of a series of
tests in the Pacific, the Ministry of Supply has announced.
Details of the bomb, described only as a "nuclear device", are sketchy.
The term "device" indicates that it was an experimental explosive rather
than a fully developed weapon.
It was almost certainly part of the thermo-nuclear weapons programme
which was started in December 1954 to develop the megaton hydrogen bomb,
which is as powerful as one million tons of TNT.
The test was carried out at high altitude over the largely uninhabited
Christmas Island to minimise nuclear fall-out.
This is the most important range of tests carried out by Britain,
developed with limited resources and in a remarkably short space of time.
Scientists have taken two years to develop the tests compared with
their American counterparts who took seven years before exploding their
The bomb was dropped by a four-engined jet, Valiant of No 49 Squadron
RAF Bomber Command, normally based at RAF Wittering, Northants.
The Minister of Supply, Aubrey Jones, was informed of the Pacific
nuclear trials by Air Vice-Marshal WE Oulton, commander of the task force
and WRJ Cook, scientific director of the program.
Scientists are evaluating the results of the testing and will make a
further statement in the next few days.
|Funerals took place one
day after the Ma'alot school killings|
1974: Teenagers die in Israeli school
teenagers have died along with three Palestinians holding them hostage at
an Israeli school.
Up to seven children were injured, nine critically, after Israeli
troops stormed the building in an attempt to free the youngsters in
Ma'alot, five miles (eight kilometres) from the Lebanese border.
As the troops entered the school the teenagers were reportedly attacked
with hand grenades by the
Palestinians. An Israeli soldier is also believed to have died in the gun
battle that followed.
Smoke could be seen pouring out of the windows as the Israeli soldiers
threw out furniture which they feared was booby-trapped.
Gang stormed school
It is thought that around 100 pupils aged between 14 and 16 were in the
school when the Palestinians stormed it in the early hours of this morning
as the teenagers slept.
Fifteen people, children and teachers, managed to escape. A teenage boy
was later sent out with a list of prisoners the hostage-takers wanted
released in Israel.
The Knesset, the Israeli parliament, met in an emergency session, and
by 1500 local time a decision was reached to negotiate.
The Israeli government talked to the hostage-takers, via a loudhailer,
and had agreed to release 26 political prisoners held in Israel.
It appears that the deal to free the Israeli children broke down when
the Palestinians inside the school failed to receive a code word they were
waiting for from their organisation in Damascus.
The Popular Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine said it
carried out the attack.
School faced bomb threat
Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir told reporters in Jerusalem that her
government had been talking to the hostage-takers but had not been given
enough time to complete preparations to free prisoners.
Mrs Meir described the group believed to be behind the attack as "an
organisation of blood and murder".
Israel's Minister for Information, Shimon Perez, said the decision to
storm the school had been taken at the last minute because it was feared
the gang would blow it up with the children inside by an 1800 local time