BOMBS planted in front of McDonald's, Chevrolet dealership in Mexico

Saturday, September 1st 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

MEXICO CITY (AP) _ Police in Mexico's capital deployed special anti-guerrilla patrols Saturday, hours after two small bombs were planted in front of a Chevrolet dealership and a McDonald's.

A device packed with gunpowder exploded early Saturday, shattering display windows, damaging new cars and blowing a hole in the ceiling of a Chevrolet dealership in the northern Moctezuma neighborhood near the Mexico City airport, police said.

No injuries were reported in the blast, which set off car and building alarms.

At a McDonald's restaurant across the street, officials discovered a box filled with flammable materials that gave off ``smoke and a foul smell'' but did not explode, Attorney General Bernardo Batiz told a press conference Saturday.

No group claimed responsibility for planting the bombs, but Batiz blamed members of an obscure guerrilla faction known as ``The Group of Guerrilla Combatants of Jose Maria Morelos y Pavon.'' Police had ``a number of suspects,'' he said.

The explosions came as a group of trade ministers from around the world held meetings here Saturday aimed at starting a new round of global trade talks.

They also came just before President Vicente Fox was to deliver his state of the nation address to Congress Saturday night.

Batiz ordered authorities to organize special patrols to watch banks, restaurants and businesses that could be the subject of rebel attacks.

He also called for increased police presence outside Congress, where Fox will deliver his address, and around the luxury hotel where the trade ministers met behind closed doors.

On Aug. 8 three small explosives in tin cans detonated in front of branches of Banco Nacional de Mexico, or Banamex, which was is in the process of being purchased by New York-based Citigroup.

Two more small bombs were diffused at other branches and an unexploded grenade was found hours later outside a sixth Banamex location.

The rebel group the Revolutionary Armed Forces of the People claimed responsibility for the Banamex bombings.