A bomb exploded in the Chilean capital of Santiago Monday, wounding at least eight people near a subway stop.
The blast hit a fast food restaurant at the Escuela Militar (Military School) metro station around 2 p.m. local time in the affluent residential and shopping neighborhood of Las Condes.
Government spokesman Alvaro Elizalde said the bombing had “the hallmarks of a terrorist act.” “There is no doubt. And it has been carried out with the intention of hurting innocent people,” he added.
None of the injuries from the blast were fatal. Local health officials said a Venezuelan man in his 30s suffered trauma to his leg and a woman had at least one of her fingers amputated. Others suffered hearing losses.
“This is a cowardly act because it has as its objective to hurt people, create fear and even kill innocent people,” President Michelle Bachelet said. “We’re going to use all the weight of the law, including the anti-terrorist law, because those responsible for these acts have to pay,” she said.
Anti-terrorism laws give prosecutors more powers and allow for harsher sentencing.
Bachelet asked for residents to remain calm, saying, “This is horrible, tremendously reprehensible, but Chile is and remains a safe country.”
No group has claimed responsibility, and the police said the attack was being investigated.
Chile, which returned to democracy in 1990 after a 17-year dictatorship, is normally one of Latin America’s most stable countries and has not suffered an attack of this magnitude in at least 20 years.
However, there have been a number of low-level attacks by anarchist groups in recent years, including in July, and Monday’s blast will put pressure on Bachelet to respond at a time when her popularity is slipping and she has her plate full with a reform drive and worsening economy.
Some information for this report provided by Reuters.