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Explosion in Bogota shopping center leaves at least 1 dead, 11 injured

Updated: 2017-06-18 08:45

BOGOTA - At least one woman was killed and eleven injured after an explosive device detonated in a restroom in an upscale shopping center in Colombia's capital on Saturday, officials said.

The Andino shopping center in an exclusive area of Bogota was evacuated after the blast in the second floor women's toilets. The Andino commercial center was packed with people flocking to buy gifts ahead of Father's Day celebrations on Sunday.

Bogota Mayor Enrique Penalosa denounced the attack. Police said the device was placed in the toilet bowl.

"The cowardly terrorist attack in Andino really hurts me," he said on Twitter. The victim was a 23-year-old French woman, Penalosa told reporters.

Streets surrounding the commercial building were closed by police and ambulances raced to the scene as security officials tried to establish who was responsible for the blast.

A photograph on Twitter showed a woman slumped against the wall with a pool of blood around her and what appears to be a large shard of metal piercing her back. In front of her is another woman with her leg torn apart above the knee.

President Juan Manuel Santos has ordered an investigation into the incident.

Security has improved in Bogota over the last decade as police and military increased surveillance and put more armed officials on the streets. At one time all bags were checked at the entrance to shopping malls, but that has been vastly scaled back in recent years.

Sniffer dogs still check cars at parking facilities in the capital.

A peace accord signed last year with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the country's biggest guerrilla group, raised confidence bomb attacks might cease, but in February the second largest insurgent group, the National Liberation Army, or ELN, exploded a device in Bogota that injured dozens of police.

Reuters

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