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Saturday, 14 December, 2002, 09:03 GMT
Many hurt in Colombia blasts
Casualty from hotel blast
One of the bombs targeted diners at a hotel
At least 30 people have been injured in a series of bomb blasts in the Colombian capital, Bogota.

Dozens of people were hurt when a bomb in a suitcase exploded in a restaurant on the 30th floor of a hotel.

We were watching the show and then there was a terrible explosion

Jorge Quintero, victim
The blast came shortly after another bombing injured a prominent Colombian senator.

Colombian President Alvaro Uribe blamed that attack on left-wing rebels, whom he said were supported by "international terrorist organisations".

"Some reports say the IRA [Irish Republican Army], other reports say [the Spanish separatist movement] ETA... they are carrying out these attacks against citizens in our country," the president said.

Hotel rocked

The blast in the towering Hotel Tequendama tore through the restaurant as diners watched a stage show.

"We were watching the show and then there was a terrible explosion," said Jorge Quintero, who was injured.

The bomb shattered windows of the building, sending shards of glass onto the streets below.

Television pictures showed victims, some covered in blood, being led away from the scene.

The building is owned by the Colombian military, the AFP news agency reported.

Booby-trap

Hours earlier, another blast injured Senator German Vagas Lleras, a prominent supporter of President Uribe.

Police say the senator triggered a bomb which was hidden in a book wrapped up as a Christmas present.

Police are investigating how the book bomb passed through security checks without being detected.

Senator Lleras, a nephew of former Colombian President Carlos Lleras, is an outspoken critic of left-wing rebels.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Thousands of people have been killed in violence linked to Marxist rebels, right-wing paramilitaries and government forces in Colombia's 38-year-old civil war.


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01 Dec 02 | Americas
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