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Tuesday, 15 October, 2002, 18:39 GMT 19:39 UK
Blair: Bali bomb pure wickedness
Bali nightclub
The clear-up operation at the Kuta nightclub continues
Prime Minister Tony Blair has condemned the Bali bomb attack, as British relatives continue to wait for news about missing loved ones.

Mr Blair, speaking in an emergency Commons statement, also said the government was "urgently" considering proscribing the Jemaah Islamiyah group under the Terrorism Act 2000.

Tony Blair
Blair: Those responsible are not yet known

The group is suspected of involvement in the Kuta nightclub attack last Saturday which has so far killed almost 200 people - including 33 Britons.

Two Indonesian men are being questioned by police investigating the attack.

Officers have found traces of plastic explosive at the bomb scene - suggesting a sophisticated operation.

Mr Blair told MPs it was wrong to suggest the international community could not deal with threats on two fronts - from Iraq and with terrorism.

"The threat to all people, at any time, at any place in the world is real," Mr Blair warned.

He added: "This was an act of pure wickedness - horrific and brutal attacks, which have left hundreds of families here and all around the world in shock and grieving.

"We had no specific intelligence relating to the attack in Bali. We do not yet know for certain who carried it out."

Hundreds were burned by the fire caused by the explosion

Foreign secretary Jack Straw said the fight against Iraq had to continue.

Speaking after talks in Washington with US Secretary of State Colin Powell, he said: "There is a much better and greater understanding worldwide... about the evil nature of the Iraqi regime and the paramount need to deal with the Iraqi regime's weapons of mass destruction."

So far, six Britons have been named among the dead.

Nine Britons are in hospital in Bali, three are in Australian hospitals and four have been repatriated to hospitals in Singapore.

There were emotional scenes at Heathrow airport on Tuesday as flights carrying some of the Britons caught up in the blast arrived home.

Heroic rescues

Other survivors returning to the UK have been describing their experiences.

Rachel Griffiths, 28, from Tenby, Pembrokeshire, was pulled from the club wreckage by friend Jonathan Hartery and suffered burns, cuts and bruising.

Laura France
Laura France: one of the Britons confirmed dead

She said: "After the explosion... when I saw the flames they were very, very severe and very hot and I thought maybe we wouldn't [get out]."

The device exploded outside a crowded nightclub in the resort of Kuta, which is popular with foreign tourists.

While no-one has admitted carrying out the attack, both Indonesia and US President George Bush have said they believed it was linked to the al-Qaeda network.

Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith backed the Government's stand against this "unspeakable evil" and insisted the need to root out terrorism was as urgent as the need to confront Iraq.

"There is no doubt that it cannot be a question of either or," he said.

Helpline numbers
British Consulate: 00 62 361270572
Foreign Office: 0207 0080000

But Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy cautioned against letting the prospect of conflict with Iraq "distract" from the war against terrorism.

He added: "If there was a war against Iraq, would that increase or decrease the likelihood of further terrorist attacks?"

The Foreign Office is urging people to avoid travelling to Indonesia for now.

A team of British forensic and counter-terrorism specialists are on their way to Kuta and Singapore to help with the investigation.

Detectives are appealing for information from anyone who has returned from Bali in the last few days.

The BBC's Andrew Marr
"Have they forgotten the real threat of al Qaeda?"
Prime Minister Tony Blair:
"We do know there are groups of extremists active in the region some of which have strong links to al Qaeda"

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See also:

15 Oct 02 | Politics
15 Oct 02 | Asia-Pacific
15 Oct 02 | Politics
15 Oct 02 | Wales
14 Oct 02 | England
14 Oct 02 | Asia-Pacific
15 Oct 02 | Asia-Pacific
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