TOULON, France — Four suspected rightists were killed today when a bomb they were transporting in their car blew up in an Arab neighborhood, police said.
"They were believed to be transporting explosives, possibly for a planned attack," said a police spokesman in Toulon, a Mediterranean port 440 miles southeast of Paris.
The four men were not identified. There were no other victims.
Anti-immigrant pamphlets signed "S.O.S. France" with such slogans as "France is us, not them" were found among the debris, leading police to suspect the victims were ultra-rightists planning an attack on an Arab target.
Police believe that about 10 pounds of explosives blew up prematurely in the 1 a.m. blast, rocking an Arab quarter of the city. The explosion destroyed the Alfa Romeo, damaged nearby vehicles, triggered a fire in an adjacent toy store and shattered windows and furniture in two apartments above the store.
Pieces of Metal, Clothes
"The explosion was so powerful it woke up the entire neighborhood," one resident said. "There were pieces of metal and clothes scattered everywhere."
Police said they believed that the nearby former offices of S.O.S Racisme, a Paris-based anti-racist organization, might have been the target of the planned attack. The organization moved away July 14, they said.
Immigration is one of the more contentious issues in France, particularly along the Mediterranean coast where there are large communities of North Africans. The extreme-right National Front party led by Jean-Marie Le Pen, which ran on a platform of tight controls on immigrants, did well in regional elections in March in the area.
The conservative government of Premier Jacques Chirac on Aug. 7 passed measures tightening immigration controls and making it easier to expel immigrants.