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1999: Dozens hurt in London bomb blast
An explosion outside a busy supermarket in Brixton, south London, has injured at least 45 people.

At least four of the casualties - including a one-year-old boy with a nail lodged in his brain - are said to be seriously hurt and are being kept in hospital overnight.

A market trader, George Jones, was handed the bag containing the nail bomb shortly before it went off.

Mr Jones said: "I unzipped it and opened it wide and I could see what it was - it was a square device with Sellotape and nails."

Mr Jones used his mobile phone to call the police and tried to move the bag away from shoppers but the device went off.

"I was blown across the road and a couple of nails lodged in my leg," Mr Jones said.

Local resident Jools Thomas described the scene after the blast.

An outrageous and mindless act
Home Secretary Jack Straw
"A friend of mine who is a nurse tried to help patch up the worst.

"There was a bloke with a nail stuck in his head and another with a nail in his lung," he said.

Home Secretary Jack Straw has condemned the incident as "an outrageous and mindless act".

Scotland Yard said there was no warning given before the blast at 1730BST outside an Iceland supermarket.

A police helicopter and explosives officers were called to the scene, which remains sealed off as forensic experts trawl the site for clues.

Though no motive has been established police said the incident is not believed to be related to Northern Ireland paramilitary groups.

However, Brixton-based black activist Lee Jasper said he suspected the bomb may have been the work of a racially-motivated far-right group.

Brixton has a high concentration of ethnic minority residents and is known as a centre of black culture in London.

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Brixton High Street
The bomb exploded in a busy shopping area


In Context
A week after the Brixton blast another bomb went off in Brick Lane in London's East End - an area with a high Asian population.

Seven people were slightly injured.

But on 30 April a nail bomb placed in a central London pub with a large number of gay customers killed three people, one of them a pregnant woman.

Sixty-five people were injured, 17 of them seriously - two victims had legs amputated.

The explosions proved to be the work of right-wing extremist David Copeland, 22, who was captured shortly after the pub bombing.

In June 2000 he was found guilty of murder and jailed for life.

Stories From 17 Apr


 
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