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article imageBus stop blast wounds five in Chilean capital

By AFP     Jan 4, 2019 in World

A blast at a bus stop that wounded five people in the center of the Chilean capital on Friday was described as a "terrorist act" by the government.

A Venezuelan couple was hospitalized with facial and leg injuries after handling a package containing the device at the bus stop on the busy Vicuna Mackenna avenue, authorities said.

A militant environmental group claimed the attack on its website. Two years ago the group -- identifying themselves as "Individualists Tending to the Wild" -- said they were behind a parcel bomb attack that injured the head of state-owned copper mining giant Codelco.

Interior Minister Andres Chadwick said the police were investigating the attack as a "terrorist crime" and that the veracity of group's claims were being probed.

"This is very serious act," Chadwick told reporters after visiting the injured in hospital.

"None of the injuries are life threatening. The Venezuelan patient will remain in hospital and her husband will be discharged," said Luis Castillo, a senior government health official.

The blast occurred around midday near the busy Plaza Italia in central Santiago, and was heard several blocks away. Police sealed off the immediate area.

Santiago regional governor Karla Rubilar earlier told reporters that four people had been injured when a device exploded at the bus stop, adding that the most seriously injured was the woman.

Apart from the Venezuelan couple, the other three people were only lightly injured. The bus stop itself was largely undamaged.

Police general Enrique Monras said "the nature of the explosive material is still unknown."

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