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Last Updated: Tuesday, 3 July 2007, 18:15 GMT 19:15 UK
Salmond praises airport 'heroes'
Alex Salmond at Glasgow Airport
Mr Salmond visited Glasgow Airport after the attack
First Minister Alex Salmond has said he plans to honour emergency workers and members of the public who reacted to the attack on Glasgow Airport.

Mr Salmond described those who ran towards the blazing car and tackled the two suspects as "Scottish heroes".

He said there was a sense of shock that those detained as part of the police operation were linked to the NHS.

Any retaliatory racist incidents would be met with the full force of the law, the first minister said.

At a news conference at his official residence in Edinburgh, Mr Salmond also defended the lord advocate's decision to hand over three suspects from Scotland over to the Metropolitan Police in London.

He went on to confirm there had been a small number of retaliatory attacks in the wake of events on Saturday.

"There's been only a limited number of reports of attacks or incidents which could be racist in origin," Mr Salmond said.

"That I think is tribute to the cohesion of Scotland and also to the major efforts that have been made by the police and others in terms of general cohesion and community support."

There's a great deal of shock the people involved in a healing profession could be involved potentially in activities of this kind
Alex Salmond
First Minister

He added: "Any racist or religiously-led incidents in Scotland will be met by the full force of the law.

"That will apply to the relatively few incidents we've had reported today and will apply to any future incidents."

Referring to the news that many of the suspects worked as doctors or trainee doctors, Mr Salmond said the health service recruitment procedures and immigration checks would be kept under review.

However, he warned against "knee-jerk actions".

"You associate the medical profession with people who save lives," he said.

"Therefore it has a certain shock factor that people involved in that profession could be involved in such terrible activities, or could be accused of being involved in such terrible activities.

"There's a great deal of shock the people involved in a healing profession could be involved potentially in activities of this kind."

Police have urged anyone with information to phone the confidential Anti-Terrorism hotline number on 0800789321.


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