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CHOCO
Dec 14th, 2002, 04:31 PM
http://i.cnn.net/cnn/2002/WORLD/americas/12/14/colombia.blasts/story.injured.aptn.jpg
Military police carry an injured woman from a Bogota hotel.



Bomb blasts rock Colombian capital
Saturday, December 14, 2002 Posted: 5:22 PM HKT (0922 GMT)


BOGOTA, Colombia (CNN) -- At least 31 people were injured late Friday when an explosion ripped through a hotel in downtown Bogota, according to police, hours after a package bomb injured a Colombian senator known for his opposition to the country's leftist rebels.

Sen. German Vargas was injured when he opened a package wrapped as a Christmas gift, which exploded around 8 p.m., according to journalist Adriana Vargas. He underwent surgery and was listed in stable condition.

The hotel blast happened nearly three hours later, and authorities have not confirmed if the two were linked.

Vargas is a close politically ally of President Alvaro Uribe and is known for his strong opposition to Colombia's main rebel group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

Uribe deplored the attacks and blamed FARC and its ties to international terrorist groups.

"We deeply deplore these terrorist acts that once again have hit the city of Bogota," he said. "We have confidence that Mr. German Vargas will recover quickly and that those injured in the Residencias Tequendama will recover.

"The information we have is that the FARC is in contact with an international terrorist organization. Some sources say IRA [Irish Republican Army] and others [Basque separatist group] ETA, and they are perpetrating these attacks on the citizens of our country."