Blast in South Africa injures as many as 46
November 28, 1999
From staff and wire reports
CAPE TOWN, South Africa (CNN) -- An explosion rocked through a crowded pizzeria on the beach Sunday evening, injuring as many as 46 people, a statement from the Cape Town disaster management center said.
"It was a pipe bomb hidden in a plastic bag under one of the tables in the middle of the restaurant," police spokesman Neville Malila told Reuters.
He said there had been no claims of responsibility, no warning had been given, and the restaurant had not received any threats. Two of the wounded were critically hurt.
The bomb exploded just after 4 p.m. (1400 GMT) in the popular St. Elmo's pizzeria overlooking the crowded Camps Bay beach on the Atlantic Ocean south of Cape Town.
The restaurant is situated in a block housing several restaurants that cater to an array of clients from young surfers to families.
Dr. Gerald Dalbock, who helped treat victims at the scene, said two people were in critical condition and had been flown to local hospitals.
"One patient has sustained major trauma to a lower limb," he said. Another of the victims was a 6-year-old boy.
Shards of glass littered the road next to the beach where only four days earlier British tycoon Richard Branson had wined and dined Cape Town's elite to celebrate the start of his Virgin Atlantic airline's weekly flights to the city.
A spokeswoman for the City Park Hospital, which just 15 months ago dealt with most of the victims of another bomb at the U.S. franchised Planet Hollywood restaurant, said 20 victims of the Camps Bay blast had been brought in for treatment.
Cape Town was virtually in a state of siege a year ago after the Planet Hollywood blast, which was followed by a series of other explosions, most of which were attributed to a Muslim group called People Against Gangsterism and Drugs (PAGAD).
PAGAD denied the charges, blaming the police for mounting a campaign against them -- accusations bolstered by the discovery in January of a National Intelligence Agency operative among a PAGAD group arrested for possession of explosives.
On Friday a prominent PAGAD member was convicted of murdering four people in a shootout near the city's Waterfront tourist area in January.
No one claimed responsibility for Sunday's bomb, but regional Safety and Security Minister Mark Wiley told reporters he would not be surprised if the blast was associated with the the conviction.
The blast, which follows another at one of the city's gay bars less than a month ago, came as the city gears up to receive what it hopes will be a flood of tourists to celebrate the millennium.
"The economy of the Western Cape has been damaged," Wiley told reporters at Sunday's blast scene.
Cape Town Tourism chief Sheryl Ozinsky deplored the bombing as an attack on innocent people.
"It is a cowardly act," she told Reuters. "Our sympathies go out to the victims and their families.
"It is undermining the livelihood not only of the many people who live here but also to the sense of freedom we have fought for. People are afraid to go out here," she said.
Reuters contributed to this report.
11 wounded in South Africa bomb blast
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