A letter seeking to justify the IRA’s Canary Wharf bombing was sent to a grieving brother of one the dead men, by an individual thought to have been part of the team which carried out the attack.
The revelation comes today on the 20th anniversary of the attack against London’s Docklands, which claimed two lives.
Inam Bashir died with his employee John Jeffries in his newsagents shop when the massive lorry bomb exploded only five yards away.
It caused £100m of damage and left 140 people injured.
It has emerged that the brother of Mr Bashir received a letter, apparently from one of the IRA team responsible, in a bid to justify his sibling’s death.
The IRA said police failed to act on warnings, but Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Paul Condon rejected the claim, saying it had been “a failure of humanity”.
James McArdle was convicted of conspiracy to cause explosions and sentenced to 25 years but was released under the Good Friday Agreement in June 2000.
McArdle, from Crossmaglen, was said to have displayed “no remorse” for his part in the atrocity, according to the trial judge.
Mr Bashir’s brother Ihsan told the News Letter: “A letter came to us via the local mosque a few weeks after the bomb.”
He has never before revealed the existence of the very brief letter: “It said: ‘I did not realise your brother was still in the shop. But you understand how we feel. You suffered under British rule in India for 200 years’.”
It was written by typewriter and was not signed.
Mr Bashir did not receive the envelope to see where it was posted from.
It was handed over to Scotland Yard but the family never heard anything more about it.
“We felt it was probably the person involved in the bombing.
“But that was all it said. He did not say sorry. Today, I would say he was evil.
“My father did live under British rule before he moved to the UK. But his response was, ‘those days are finished’.
“When he read the letter he was just disgusted by it.”
Following Mr Bashir’s murder, his father had a heart attack and died in the operating theatre five months later.
“My mother lost her husband and a son. She is now 74 and suffers from depression,” said Ihsan Bashir.
After the atrocity, his family was “deeply touched” to receive 10 books of condolence from Irish sympathisers, totalling some 30,000 signatures.
He added: “It was not just my brother who was killed.
“Another person was in the shop too, our right-hand man, JJ [John Jeffries].”
JJ was of Irish descent – but that has no bearing on the atrocity, he said.
“He was a human being. Bombs do not discriminate, that is all I can say.
“We are all human and all have the same blood in us.
“The UK is still the best country to be in.”
As a Muslim, Ihsan Bashir says that none of the current “gangster mafia” terrorism by Islamic State will move him.
“It [the UK] is a civilised country. I can vote here. I want to build a secure future for my children here.”
Today he will follow the same annual routine in memory of his brother and friend JJ.
“I start the day with prayer just before sunrise.
“I pray for Inam and John and the families, everyone that got hurt that day and all the victims of terrorism across the world.
“The worst part is that victims never get justice and if they [perpetrators] are [caught], they are released for the sake of the bigger picture.
“Twenty years on, the legacy is still here. We all want peace in Northern Ireland but at what price?
“People like Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness should have stood down after the Good Friday Agreement was signed.
“A lot of people still see them as idols.”