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Madrid Bomb Blast Injures 100 - 2001-11-06

A car bomb exploded Tuesday in a busy area of Madrid injuring nearly 100 people, four of them seriously. Two persons suspected of having set off the bomb have been arrested.

It was a normal busy morning in the Prosperidad neighborhood in the northeastern part of Madrid. Children were arriving at school, shops were opening and people were heading for work. A few minutes after 9:00am a car bomb exploded injuring nearly a hundred people.

Police say that the target of the bombing was Juan Junquera, a senior official of the ministry of science and technology, who was passing by in a chauffeur-driven official car. Mr. Junquera and the driver were slightly injured by flying glass. Police say that if the bomb, which was set off by remote control, had gone off three seconds earlier their injuries would have been much more serious.

Of the almost 100 people injured by the bomb, four are listed in serious condition, including a woman and her three-year-old daughter.

Within an hour after the bombing, police had arrested two suspects. One of them, Aitor Garcia Aliaga, is a known member of ETA who is accused of various terrorist attacks. The other, Ana Belen Egues, is a member of ETA's political wing, Herri Batasuna. Police say the couple had false identity documents, wigs, and handguns.

Spain's minister of the interior, Mariano Rajoy, confirmed that the two were members of ETA's Madrid commando unit.

Police credited the arrests to the actions of a resident of the Prosperidad neighborhood who became suspicious of the couple as they were driving away shortly after the blast. He used his mobile phone to alert police and then followed the pair for a couple of kilometers until their capture by police.

ETA is blamed for about 800 killings in its 30-year-long campaign to establish an independent Basque state in northern France and southern Spain.