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At least 6 killed in Bogota car bombing


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An early morning car bomb kills two police officers and several others in downtown Bogota, Colombia. CNN's Karl Penhaul reports
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BOGOTA, Colombia (CNN) -- At least six people were killed in a car bombing Wednesday in downtown Bogota, authorities said.

The dead included two police officers and street vendors, police said.

Authorities say a jeep packed with 100 pounds of explosives blew up in a busy commercial area that has a reputation for being a haven for smuggled goods. They believe the explosives were a mixture of fertilizer and fuel oil.

There have been no claims of responsibility.

The mayor's office put the number of injured at 15 while police said 11.

Police said the explosion occurred when a patrol came by after someone put in a call to alert police that a car was abandoned there.

Colombia has faced decades of civil warfare, involving the government, leftist rebels and a right-wing paramilitary group.

The right-wing paramilitary forces have had a traditional presence in the commercial district for years, blackmailing traders in return for protection. One of the offices they operated from was raided last week.

The incident took place on a day known by revolutionaries as the International Day of the Guerrilla, the day the world commemorates the death of revolutionary Che Guevara years ago during combat in Bolivia.

Leftist rebels fighting in Colombia's civil war have increasingly been bringing the war to the nation's cities.

An explosion last month in Florencia killed 10 people and wounded 54 others, police said. The right-wing paramilitary forces that control that city said the attack bore the hallmarks of FARC, their rival.

In February, the bombing of a Bogota social club killed 32 people and wounded 200. And in August, 2002, a mortar attack on the presidential palace in Bogota killed at least 13. Police said FARC likely was to blame in both incidents.

Established in 1964 as the military wing of the Colombian Communist Party, 16,000-member FARC is Colombia's oldest, largest, most capable, and best-equipped Marxist rebel group, according to the U.S. Department of State. It is classified by the State Department as a terrorist group that conducts bombings, murder, kidnappings and hijackings.

Karl Penhaul contributed to this report.


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