Humza Yousaf has paid tribute to the people of Lockerbie on the 35th anniversary of the terrorist attack that killed 270 people. 

The First Minister said his thoughts were “with all those who lost loved ones.”

He added: “My thoughts are also with the emergency workers who responded in the immediate aftermath of the atrocity. 

“Their rapid response along with the people of Lockerbie while facing extraordinary circumstances demonstrated extreme kindness and humanity in the face of such horrific events."

READ MORE: Lockerbie: The horrors that shattered but united a town in mourning

On December 21, 1988, Pan Am Flight 103 exploded over the town, 40 minutes into its flight from London to New York.

All 259 passengers and crew were killed, including 35 students from the University of Syracuse, along with 11 Lockerbie residents.

The crime scene covered 845 square miles.

Quiet and low-key commemorations on Thursday will include a remembrance service at Tundergarth Church and wreaths laid at Rosebank Crescent, which became the site of a huge crater, and Sherwood Crescent, where houses were also destroyed.

A remembrance scholar from Syracuse University will attend a rose-laying ceremony in Dryfesdale Cemetery with pupils from Lockerbie Academy, which has formed a scholarship programme with the US university.

A virtual service will also take place at Syracuse University.

The Herald:

Mr Yousaf paid tribute to the "legacy of friendship" that had emerged between the town and the families who had died. 

He said: "While those lost on that night can never be replaced, and the events have had a lasting impact on the town, I know links were forged following the disaster between Lockerbie and other communities that continue to this day, including the Syracuse University scholarship programme with Lockerbie Academy. 

“The strength and compassion that both the victims’ families and the community of Lockerbie have shown has created a legacy of friendship and ensured that the memory of those who died lives on.”

READ MORE: Lockerbie has handled the 1988 disaster with an 'amazing grace'

Former Libyan intelligence officer, Abdelbaset al-Megrahi is so far the only man convicted in connection with the bombing.

He was found guilty of 270 counts of murder by a panel of three Scottish judges, sitting at a special court in the Hague in 2001.

Al-Megrahi was sent to prison in Scotland but was controversially granted compassionate release in 2009 after being diagnosed with terminal cancer.

He returned home to Libya, where he died in 2012.

Fellow Libyan Abu Agila Mohammad Mas’ud Kheir Al-Marimi, who is alleged to have helped make the bomb, is currently in custody in the US.

Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross also paid tribute to those caught up in the attack.

He said: “On the 35th anniversary of the Lockerbie disaster, my thoughts today are very much with the 259 people killed on the flight and the 11 people who were killed on the ground in the town – and their families and friends.

“The impacts have been keenly felt by the community ever since, and this anniversary is particularly poignant for those at the Syracuse University, given 35 students were killed in the bombing.

“One of the few positives from the disaster is the strong links forged between the university and relatives in the town over the last 35 years.

“Local people in Lockerbie have responded remarkably well to the impact that the disaster has had on them, and I know they will continue to do so.”