Two Hurt in Blast at Chilean Department Store

SANTIAGO – Two people were injured on Friday when a bomb went off at a department store five blocks from Chile’s presidential palace, authorities said.

They said the blast took place on the second floor of the Falabella store on a main square in Santiago, sparking panic among customers and pedestrians.

“There were many people” inside the store at the time of the explosion, a witness told Cooperativa radio.

One person was struck by shrapnel and a child suffered auditory trauma, police said.

The explosion came two days before Sunday’s presidential runoff between right-wing billionaire Sebastian Piñera and the candidate of Chile’s governing center-left coalition, former head of state Eduardo Frei.

Chile has seen some two-dozen bombings in the past few years, but Friday’s incident marked a departure from the previous attacks, most of which took place between midnight and dawn and were apparently timed to avoid casualties.

Responsibility for the earlier blasts was claimed by anarchists and anti-globalization groups, some of them linked to Chile’s disgruntled Mapuche Indians. EFE

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