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Bombs explode near Madrid stadium

Two bombs exploded just hours before 75,000 people were due to crowd the Bernabeu stadium  

MADRID, Spain -- Up to 17 people are reported to have been injured after two car bombs exploded near Madrid's Bernabeu football stadium, hours before Real Madrid met arch rivals Barcelona in the European Champions League semifinal.

The first blast went off near the stadium at 4.55 p.m. (1455 GMT) on Wednesday, destroying several cars.

The Basque newspaper Gara said the Basque separatist group ETA had telephoned it just minutes beforehand to warn of the attack. A crowd of 75,000 was gathering to pack the Bernabeu.

A second car bomb went off less than an hour later in area about 1.5 km (one mile) across town, Telemadrid TV said.

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European football's governing body UEFA made security checks before deciding that the match could go ahead.

The game was a 1-1 draw with Real winning 3-1 on aggregate over the two legs. They play Bayer Leverkusen in the final on May 15. (Full story)

Madrid police had been alerted and were in the area when the first car exploded, said a spokesman.

But they had difficulty moving fans queuing at the stadium for standby tickets, said CNN producer Joe Duran.

Both teams, who trained at the Bernabeu on Tuesday night, were staying at hotels in the city centre before the game.

Ten days ago a car bomb blamed on Basque separatist group ETA damaged buildings and cars in the area but caused no serious injuries.

ETA has killed more than 800 people since 1968 in its drive for an independent state in Basque areas of northern Spain and south-western France.


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