Four bombs hit US interests in Argentina

Thu Oct 6, 2005 6:58 PM ET

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (Reuters) - Four homemade bombs exploded on Thursday at U.S.-owned banks and a Blockbuster video store in Argentina in what appeared to be a protest against U.S. President George W. Bush's visit next month, police said.

No one was hurt in the early-morning blasts targeting two Citibank branches and another belonging to BankBoston outside the capital, Buenos Aires. But damage at the Blockbuster store was considerable.

Pamphlets that read "No to Bush in Argentina!" were found in the debris, signed by unknown groups including the "Che Guevara Anti-Imperialist Commando," said Oscar Rodriguez, police chief in the suburb of San Miguel.

Vandals also smashed windows at a Ford car dealership, police said.

U.S. interests, particularly banks, are often targeted in Argentina by groups that plant small bombs on the eve of visits by U.S. or International Monetary Fund officials.

Bush is set to visit the coastal Argentine city of Mar del Plata on November 4-5 for a summit of heads of state of the Americas.

Government officials said more such attacks could be expected.

"There are sure to be some groups claiming to be anti-summit or anti-imperialist that will express themselves in this reprehensible way against the president of the United States," Interior Minister Anibal Fernandez told reporters.

"We are going to find a way to put an end to it," he added.

Last week, police said they had found a locker at a bus station containing old grenades and a copy of the Koran and maps of Mar del Plata. Authorities said it was the work of amateurs.

A poll last month showed that six out of 10 Argentines disapprove of Bush. Many Argentines feel the United States blocked a badly needed financial aid package during a 2001 economic crisis.