- Associated Press - Monday, December 24, 2012

MADRID (AP) — A car bomb was defused in the parking lot of a megabrothel in northeast Spain early Monday, and 300 people were evacuated from the site, the Interior Ministry said.

A security guard at Paradise, one of Spain’s largest legal brothels, called police late Sunday in La Jonquera, which is on the border with France, after masked men sped up to the brothel in two cars.

A man got out of one vehicle brandishing a weapon and shouted he was leaving behind a car with a bomb in the back. He then sped off with four other people in a second high-performance vehicle.

A regional ministry spokesman said it took a bomb squad several hours to deactivate the device, but he did not provide details of the size or weight of the explosives found. He spoke on condition of anonymity in keeping with ministry rules.

Paradise employs about 200 sex workers and was inaugurated in October near the Spanish end of a tunnel under the Pyrenees Mountains linking the two countries after years of disputes and stoppages of construction.

The establishment is well known in the area for offering private entrances to guests seeking secrecy and attracting Spanish and French clientele.

Local media reported a previous attack this month when two small explosive devices — one of which exploded — were thrown at the brothel from a car, and many of the town’s 3,000 residents think the bombs are evidence of gangs involved in a turf war.