Six hurt as bomb explodes near U.S. consulate in Cape Town

CAPE TOWN, South Africa - A bomb exploded Tuesday in the center of Cape Town, slightly injuring six people in the latest in a series of unexplained bombings in the city, police said.

The blast shook an area of office buildings about 300 yards from the U.S. consulate just after 4 p.m. as the afternoon rush hour was getting underway on one of the city's main roads. The consulate's operations were not affected and none of its staff was injured, said spokesman Brian Penn.

The bomb, which was in a parked car, was the third detonated in the city this month and the seventh this year. A shopping center and a gay night club were targeted in the other two attacks in August.

It was too early to speculate on the target of Tuesday's attack, police spokesman Rod Beer said. Police planned to review tapes from security cameras set up around the city center in hopes of identifying the bombers.

The mangled wreck of a car lay in the street and several vehicles parked near it were slightly damaged.

The anonymous bombing campaign, which began in Cape Town in June 1998, has claimed the lives of three people and injured more than 100.

Police and the government previously have blamed a Muslim vigilante group called People Against Gangsterism and Drugs for some of the explosions. The organization denies responsibility for the attacks and says renegade police are involved.

''What can you do?'' Mayor William Bantom asked. ''These people who are doing this are faceless.''

Beer said several people were hospitalized with injuries after Tuesday's blast.

The bombing campaign has badly damaged Cape Town's appeal as a tourism destination.


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