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  HOME | Chile

Bombs Explode in Chile Capital

SANTIAGO -- Two bombs exploded nearly simultaneously around midnight in front of public buildings in Santiago, but no injuries were reported, Chilean police said Monday.

A spokesman for the Carabineros militarized police force told Efe that a previously unknown anarchist group took responsibility for the bombings, which caused some damage.

The anarchist group said in an e-mail sent to various media outlets that the bombs were intended to mark the first anniversary of the death of Mapuche Indian activist Matias Catrileo, who was shot in the back during a clash with police.

Catrileo died on Jan. 3, 2008, while trying to occupy a ranch with several other activists in La Araucania, a region located some 670 kilometers (416 miles) south of Santiago, when police opened fire on them.

The first bomb went off at 11:00 p.m. Sunday outside a prison bureau office in Santiago Centro, causing structural damage and shattering some windows, Carabineros spokesmen said.

A second bomb exploded outside a police court in Providencia about 20 minutes later.

Carabineros Special Operations Group and crime scene investigations unit members are investigating the bombings.

In recent years, some 40 bombings have targeted banks, the offices of foreign companies, embassies and police stations in Santiago, with anti-globalization groups, some of them linked to the Mapuche Indians, claiming responsibility.

On Oct. 16, a bomb planted by unidentified individuals outside a Santiago police station was deactivated by Carabineros explosives experts.

The bomb, which had a timer, was found in a parking lot by an officer who was on guard duty at the police station in downtown Santiago.

The bomb consisted of a metal tube filled with explosives "and also had a safety system that will be analyzed," a police spokesman said.

Investigators said the bomb was similar to one found last year in Santiago's Plaza Brasil district and another bomb discovered outside the Argentine Embassy.

The bomb was also similar to one that exploded outside a Carabineros station in Santiago's Ņuņoa section a while back, investigators said.

On Sept. 16, a Carabineros officer suffered hearing damage when a bomb exploded at the 3rd Precinct, located just a few blocks from the La Moneda presidential palace, where the Union of South American Nations, or Unasur, meeting on the crisis in Bolivia had ended just few hours earlier.

A bomb exploded on Sept. 10 outside a Banco de Credito e Inversiones, or BCI, branch in Santiago, causing damage but no injuries.

The bomb blew out windows at the bank branch and a nearby car dealership, police said.

The bomb was made from a fire extinguisher packed with gunpowder, a type of explosive device used in other attacks blamed on anarchist groups, police said.

Unlike in some previous attacks, no pamphlets claiming responsibility were found at the scene of the bombing.

On Aug. 13, a bomb caused extensive damage to a branch of Brazil's Banco Itau in Santiago, but no injuries were reported.

The blast occurred at the Itau branch in La Reina, a neighborhood in the eastern section of the capital, and shattered the windows of nearby buildings.

The bomb, according to investigators, was made from a five-kilo (11-pound) gas cylinder packed with explosives.

The bomber did not leave behind any pamphlets or messages claiming responsibility for the attack, police said.

On Aug. 6, a homemade bomb exploded outside the Brazilian Embassy in Santiago, but no one was injured.

The blast shattered windows at the diplomatic facility, which is located in downtown Santiago just four blocks from the La Moneda palace, and a building across the street.

No pamphlets claiming responsibility were found at the scene of the embassy bombing either, the Carabineros said.

A bomb damaged an electricity transmission tower on the highway that links Santiago to the winter resort area of Farellones, east of the capital, on Aug. 4, but it did not cut off the flow of electricity.

On May 20, the eve of President Michelle Bachelet's state of the nation address, a bomb exploded at the base of a street light in eastern Santiago, wounding a woman, damaging several cars and knocking out power in the area.

No pamphlets claiming responsibility were found at the scene of the bombing after that attack.

On March 18, a bomb exploded outside a BCI branch in Santiago, causing extensive damage but no injuries.

A Carabineros officer was slightly wounded in a bombing on Feb. 5 at a police building in Providencia.

The blast shattered several windows at the police building and nearby structures.

On Jan. 21, 2008, a bomb went off at another Santiago BCI branch in apparent retaliation for Catrileo's death, but no one was injured in the attack.

"This is a reprisal and only the first reprisal for the murder of weichafe (comrade) Matias Catrileo, and it is a reprisal against the owners of the country, a part of the owners of the country that are the banks," an anonymous caller told Radio Bio Bio.

A Carabinero corporal is under arrest in connection with Catrileo's death.

On Dec. 19, 2007, two bombs went off within the space of an hour at a Carabineros station and a bank in the Chilean capital, causing damage but no injuries.

Near the second blast, police found flyers demanding the release of "Mapuche political prisoners," a reference to Indians jailed under anti-terrorism laws for their actions in the dispute with timber companies in southern Chile.

 

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