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3 suspects arrested in Chile subway bombing

SANTIAGO, Chile – Two men and a woman were arrested early Thursday on suspicion of involvement in a recent bombing in a subway station in the Chilean capital, police said.

Fourteen people were injured when a homemade bomb rocked an area with food stalls inside the packed Escuela Militar station in Santiago at lunchtime on September 8.

The government has deemed the unclaimed attack, the worst to hit Chile in 24 years, a “terrorist act” in what is considered by many to be the safest capital in Latin America.

Prosecutors accused the three suspects of planting the bomb.

Investigators also linked the three to another subway explosion that occurred in July but did not cause any injuries.

“We welcome this morning’s news of the arrests of three suspects involved in terrorist acts we have seen over recent months,” Interior Minister Rodrigo Penailillo told reporters.

President Michele Bachelet said the arrests were “an important step” toward solving the case and punishing those responsible.

The three were arrested at a house in the densely populated La Pintana neighborhood early Thursday and taken to a police station in eastern Santiago, a police spokesman told AFP.

Local media said police who searched the house found clothing with traces of gunpowder and tools that could be used to make bombs.

So far, an investigation has found that those detained are part of a “fairly compact and tight cell,” said Raul Guzman, an official with the prosecutor’s office.

He said there was still much to be done in the case.

Last Friday, authorities in the northern city of Antofagasta arrested three men carrying dynamite and other ingredients that could be used for a bomb, but “terrorism” was ruled out as a motive in that case.

The September 8 attack was the most destructive of some 200 unsolved bombings that have targeted banks, gyms, embassies and restaurants in the South American country over the past five years.

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