BOGOTA, Colombia — Drug terror returned to the streets of Bogota after a car packed with dynamite exploded in a busy shopping street, killing 20 people and injuring 68 in the worst such attack in three years.
The explosion Saturday night came 12 days after a letter was published from fugitive cocaine king Pablo Escobar vowing to renew his all-out war on the Colombian state, saying police persecution had left him no alternative.
President Cesar Gaviria, traveling in Ecuador, lost no time in blaming Escobar for the crime and appealing to Colombians to help him "attack head-on" the drug trafficker's criminal organization.
The Saturday night blast killed eight people outright and claimed another 12 lives as victims died in or on the way to area hospitals. It was the most lethal single blast in Bogota since December, 1989, when a massive explosion at the DAS security police headquarters claimed 67 lives.
Police said Saturday's death toll was high because many parents and children were in the narrow street eight blocks from the presidential palace finishing their shopping when the bomb exploded. They expected it to rise further as more of the wounded died in hospitals.
During the night, another two bombs exploded in the drug cartel's home base of Medellin. Four people were injured.