- Associated Press - Thursday, August 12, 2010

BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — A car bomb exploded outside a major radio station and banks in Colombia’s capital on Thursday, shattering windows and injuring at least nine people, police said. No deaths were reported.

The blast occurred at 5:30 a.m. (6:30 a.m. EDT) outside the building of Caracol Radio in northern Bogota. The national police operations director, Gen. Orlando Paez, said the car was packed with at least 110 pounds of explosives.

Gen. Cesar Pinzon, the city’s police chief, suggested that leftist rebels could have set off the blast, but he said authorities were not sure whether the bomb was aimed at the station or at several nearby bank headquarters.

President Juan Manuel Santos hurried to the scene and branded the explosion “a terrorist act,” saying it was meant to sow fear and create skepticism about the government.


“We are going to continue fighting terrorism with everything we have,” said Mr. Santos, who took office on Saturday. He replaced Alvaro Uribe, whose tough tactics sharply weakened the leftist guerrilla groups that have fought the government for decades.

Mr. Santos toured the blast site surrounded by a cloud of security agents and urged Colombians to go on with normal activities.

Bogota’s health secretary, Hector Zambrano, said at least nine people were injured. Most were treated for cuts and released, but three people remained under care, he said.

Gen. Pinzon said most of those hurt were on a bus that was passing by as the bomb exploded.

The blast shattered windows in at least 30 buildings, smashed the facade of a bank and left scraps of a destroyed car scattered in the street.

Gen. Pinzon said authorities had located the owner of the car that exploded, but he declined to give details. He said the car had not been reported stolen.

Caracol Radio continued broadcasting from its 12-story building despite the blast.

A car bomb that exploded in March in the Pacific coast city of Buenaventura killed at least nine people and injured about 50. Bogota had not suffered a car bombing since January 2009, when a blast at an automatic teller machine killed two people.