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Friday, April 30, 1999 Published at 21:18 GMT 22:18 UK

Straw: Soho bombers have 'no humanity'

Two dead and dozens are injured after Soho bomb

Home Secretary Jack Straw has led the condemnation of Friday's deadly bomb attack in Soho, central London. The blast has been linked to the two nail bombs in Brick Lane and Brixton on the two past weekends.

Jack Straw, Home Secretary: "This is a terrible outrage committed by people with no humanity. I know that the police are devoting huge efforts to find the perpetrators. Our hearts go out to those injured, their families and friends. This awful crime reinforces the need for all of us to be vigilant.

The nail bomb terror
"We are dealing with people who have warped minds, right-wing extremists who are obviously racist and homophobic. That we know. I know too that the British people will not be intimidated by this outrage, nor will the harmony between different minorities be disturbed by it."

William Hague, Conservative leader: ''[It's an] appalling and barbaric act. Our thoughts are with the victims and their families and friends and those involved in attending to them at this time."

Paddy Ashdown, Liberal Democrat leader: "This horrific outrage, picking on a minority, poses a challenge to all of us. My first thoughts are with the injured and the families of those who died. I condemn this murderous and cowardly act that strikes at the heart of civilised and tolerant values."

Sir Paul Condon, Metropolitan Police Commissioner: ''These are cowardly hate devices designed to kill, main and injure - initially minority communities, but clearly they are totally indiscriminate as to who gets killed or hurt. They are an attack on us all and we must work together to catch these people as soon as possible.''

Cardinal Basil Hume, Archbishop of Westminster: "I deplore this evil attack and the earlier attacks in Brick Lane and Brixton. It is deeply shocking that minority groups should apparently be targeted in this way. These outrageous acts must be condemned. My thoughts and prayers tonight are with the families and friends of the dead and injured."

Peter Tatchell, spokesman for gay rights group, OutRage!: ''This bombing shatters the complacent assumption that gay people can take social acceptance for granted. It shows that there are no safe and secure neighbourhoods for homosexuals and that we are still vulnerable to violent attack. Everybody is very shaken up.''

Angela Mason, executive director of lesbian and gay lobby group, Stonewall: "This is an appalling atrocity. We hope that all those injured will make a full recovery as quickly as possible. We urge witnesses to assist the police in apprehending the perpetrators of this crime.''

Tony Howard, Soho resident: "The injuries were horrific, there were bones sticking out of legs, people's faces were burnt. It's difficult to describe, it was so horrendous. I stayed with a man whose leg was partially blown off, you could see the bones in his leg.''

Grant Wilkinson, witness: "There was a huge explosion, people panicking, looking very anxious, a lot of pre-theatre people out and about, there's a lot of hysteria around."

James Fullum, witness: "I saw five people lying on the pavement. I believe they were all male. They were covered in blood and there was smoke and intense fumes everywhere. You couldn't breathe.''

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