Howard's visit to bomb victims hits a rough patch

Sydney Morning Herald
July 21 2005

By Mark Metherell

The Prime Minister has been put on the spot by an Australian casualty of the London bombings, Louise Barry, who asked whether he thought the attack was triggered by the Iraq war.

John Howard flew to London from Washington yesterday and went to the bedsides of two Australian bombing victims, Ms Barry and Gillian Hicks.

Mr Howard said he was inspired by the courage and spirit of the two women. Ms Hicks told him of her wedding plans, prompting him to say: "She is an absolute inspiration, given what she has been through."

Ms Hicks, 37, had her two legs amputated as a result of injuries she suffered in a terrorist blast on the Tube.

Ms Barry, 29, from Port Stephens, was caught in the Tavistock Square bomb blast. She suffered serious neck injuries but was expected to be discharged from University College hospital this week.

When asked about Ms Barry's question about what might have provoked the bombings, Mr Howard said the terrorists were driven by a "perverted and twisted and incorrect depiction of extreme Islamism".

He said he could not say the blasts were caused by the war in Iraq, just as the war was not the cause for the Bali bombings.        media news and views

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