'We've put a bomb in the sports club. It's set to go off in 20 minutes': Moment female IRA terrorist tells authorities she has planted a bomb at Belfast's Queen's University is revealed in newly unearthed footage from controversial 1972 film

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It was a scene that looked more at home in a police drama.

Two men were filmed carrying a bomb into a car before a red-haired woman calmly drove it to its destination as music played in the background.

Moments earlier, she had given a warning to authorities, telling them from a phone box: 'We've just put a bomb in the Queen's University Sports Club. It is set to go off in 20 minutes.'  

The 1972 bombing was just one shocking moment captured by an American documentary team led by academic J Bowyer Bell.

Bell's footage also showed the moment of the explosion, which left several people hurt.

His documentary was lost for decades after being aired only fleetingly upon its release, but has now been revealed in new BBC 4 programme The Secret Army after reporter Darragh MacIntyre tracked down some of those involved in making it.

It was a scene that looked more at home in a police drama. Two men were filmed carrying a bomb into a car before a red-haired woman calmly drove it to its destination as music played in the background

Bell's documentary, also called The Secret Army, was made with permission from the IRA's most senior figures.

Irish broadcaster Tim Pat Coogan says in the programme, which aired last week: 'These seasoned guerillas, who relied so much on secrecy, went before the cameras and, you know, in effect, put their heads on the block.' 

The criminals behind several attacks were shown without masks.

The documentary also captured secret IRA training classes for recruits, attempts to shoot down helicopters in Derry, and a meeting in Belfast led by Seamus Twomey, who later became the organisation's chief of staff.

The IRA allowed Bell to make the programme in the belief that 1972 would be their 'year of victory'. 

They hoped that the film would act as propaganda and win more funds from American sympathisers.

Moments earlier, she had given a warning to authorities, telling them from a phone box: 'We've just put a bomb in the Queen's University Sports Club. It is set to go off in 20 minutes'

The 1972 bombing was just one shocking moment captured by an American documentary team led by academic J Bowyer Bell. Bell's footage also showed the moment of the explosion, which left several people hurt 

J Bowyer Bell's film had a premiere in a New York pub but his attempts to get it to air on US networks were rebuffed

The film had a premiere in a New York pub but Bell's attempts to get it to air on US networks were rebuffed.

Leon Gildin, a co-producer on the project, says: 'I showed it to Viacom; they loved it.

'They offered me a contract for worldwide rights. What happened after that? Viacom took the worldwide rights and never sold a copy.'

Bell himself believed that British intelligence persuaded authorities to stop his film from receiving wider attention. 

His friend Roberto Mitrotti says in the programme: 'The British Government was too afraid of the repercussions that the film could have with the Irish community in the US, which was a very powerful, wealthy community. 

'So the British Government, the Foreign office, decided to clamp down on it and put pressure on the US government, to stop the film.' 

Mr MacIntyre travelled as far as Arizona in his search for documents and anyone still alive who was involved in making the 1972 film.

The film's director was Zwy Aldouby, a Nazi hunter linked to Mossad, Israel's feared intelligence agency.

Gildin added that Bell and Aldouby told him British intelligence viewed the film while it was being developed in London, before it was shipped to the US. 

However, no one was arrested in connection with the film.  

Also seen in the documentary is Martin McGuinness (right), who was then a senior member of the IRA. A photo shows him in IRA military uniform at a funeral

Also seen in the documentary is Martin McGuinness, who was then a senior member of the IRA. 

Clips show him driving around Derry with weapons and prepping a car bomb. A photo shows him in IRA military uniform at a funeral.  

He went on to play a key role in the Irish peace process and served as deputy first minister of Northern Ireland from 2007 until shortly before his death in 2017. 

The BBC were first made aware of the existence of a copy of Bell's documentary in 2018, when a source handed a BBC researcher a box of old tapes.

The conflict in Northern Ireland, known as The Troubles, lasted from the late 1960s until 1998, when the Good Friday Agreement was signed. 

Nearly 2,000 civilians were killed in atrocities carried out by both republican and loyalist groups.

In early 1972, before Bell's film was made, British soldiers shot 26 unarmed civilians in Derry in what became known as Bloody Sunday.  

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