Fire Extinguisher Used as Bomb in Chile, 14 Hurt


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A blast ripped through a fast-food restaurant next to a busy subway station in Las Condes, a neighborhood in Chile’s capital Santiago, on Monday at lunchtime, injuring at least 14 people in the most damaging of nearly 30 bombings or attempted bombings in Santiago this year.

The injuries were apparently caused by fragments from a fire extinguisher filled with gunpowder that detonated in a trash bin, said fire department Commander Ivo Zuvic Garcia.

According to a report by AP, while no group claimed responsibility for the blast, many past bombings have been claimed by anarchist groups and Chile’s government said it would invoke the country’s tough anti-terror laws.

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President Michelle Bachelet called it an abominable act of terrorism. “That’s why we’re going to use the full force of justice, including invoking the anti-terrorist law,” Bachelet said.

The anti-terror law enacted during Chile’s 1973-90 dictatorship lets suspects be held in isolation without charges and permits the use of phone taps and secret witnesses in investigations.

At least 14 people were injured in Monday’s attack, according to a list released by local hospitals. The government’s emergency medical service said that among those hurt in the blast was a cleaning woman who lost a finger.

Santiago is one of the safest capitals in Latin America, but Chileans have been shocked by at least 29 bombs that have been found across the city so far this year. Some have not gone off and none of the other bombs before this one caused any injuries.

In some cases anarchist groups have said the bombs were planted to demand freedom for two Chilean anarchists imprisoned in Spain for an explosion in a cathedral in Zaragoza last year.