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Tuesday, 12 September, 2000, 22:56 GMT 23:56 UK
Bomb hits Cape Town
An injured woman is helped to an ambulance
The injured included three women, three men and a policeman
A bomb has exploded in Cape Town outside the venue of an opposition political gathering injuring seven people, one seriously.

Police said it was caused by an explosive device fixed to a tree near a hall where the main opposition party, the Democratic Alliance, was holding a meeting.

It was close to the Gatesville mosque, powerbase of the Muslim vigilante group People Against Gangsterism and Drugs (Pagad).

Murdered judge Pieter Theron
Judge Pieter Theron's murder last week shocked South Africans
It is the 20th bomb blast in two years in the coastal city, South Africa's top tourist destination.

The Western Cape province is controlled by the opposition and the meeting was attended by Gerald Morkel, the provincial governor.

A police spokesman said Mr Morkel was not injured, but a policeman protecting the meeting was hurt.

'Perfect timing'

Mr Morkel told the South African Press Association: "The timing was perfect. I was just getting out of my car at 7.59 pm and then the bomb went off."


They are terrorists pure and simple

Security Minister Steve Tshwete
He said he went inside the building, appealed for calm and delivered his speech.

The government has blamed Pagad for more than 110 bombs which have exploded in and around Cape Town in the last four years.

'Crush' Pagad

The latest blast comes just hours after South African Safety and Security Minister Steve Tshwete told parliament of plans to crush Pagad, which it also holds responsible for the recent murder of a judge investigating urban terror cases.

Justice Minister Penuell Maduna
The justice minister wants new laws to combat terrorism
"They use Islam as a front for their cowardly activities, bringing the name of a great religion into disrepute," Mr Tshwete told MPs.

"They are terrorists pure and simple," he said.

Justice Minister Penuell Maduna used the bombing campaign to argue for the introduction of a controversial anti-terrorism law which allows suspects to be held for 14 days without trial.

Bombing campaign

Past attacks have been directed against restaurants, police stations and gay bars, leaving three people dead and more than 100 injured.

Pagad parade in 1996
Pagad repeatedly deny involvement in any attacks
No one has claimed responsibility for any of the attacks.

About 100 Pagad members are awaiting trial on a range of charges including possessing explosives, but no one has been charged with carrying out the bombings.

Pagad has repeatedly denied responsibility for the attacks and says it does not condone violence.

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See also:

08 Sep 00 | Africa
Clampdown after Cape killing
28 May 99 | South Africa elections
South Africa's crime crisis
07 Sep 00 | Africa
Break-in at Mbeki's home
09 Aug 00 | Africa
Concern over SA anti-terror bill
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