Bomb blast in Cape Town restaurant injures 48

ONE WOMAN lost a leg and several children were believed to have been among up to 48 people who were injured when a bomb exploded yesterday afternoon in a popular Cape Town pizza restaurant.

A South African police spokesman indicated that there was one foreigner, whose nationality was not known, among the victims at the popular St Elmo's pizza restaurant in the beach-side suburb of Camps Bay, south of Cape Town. The other victims were described by the hospitals treating them as suffering from shrapnel injuries, mainly to the legs. This morning, one person remained in critical condition.

After early reports of a gas explosion, police confirmed that a pipe bomb, increasingly seen as the hallmark of gangs on the lawless Cape Flats, had been used. No group claimed responsibility and the Islamist- affiliated Pagad (People Against Gangsterism And Drugs) denied involvement.

Cape Flats gangs, who rule the impoverished plain behind the picturesque city, have been blamed for a number of recent bomb attacks. The most high- profile bombing, in August 1998, was at a Planet Hollywood restaurant in Cape Town. It claimed two lives and followed attacks on US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

Yesterday's bomb was the eighth in the Cape Town area this year. Last year, the city, including several of its police stations, was targeted 68 times, prompting police to set up a unit to combat urban terror. In general, the attacks have no clear motive and no one claims responsibility. There is speculation that they are linked to extortion rackets.

Earlier this month, six people were injured when a pipe bomb exploded at gay bar in the city, called The Blah.

The blast at St Elmo's, which is in a small shopping arcade, happened shortly after 4pm local time (2pm British time) and showered glass across the single carriageway road separating Camps Bay's shops from the sandy beach. It was a fine summer's day in the area and many people would have been strolling in the sunshine or watching the surfers who frequent the beach.

According to some reports, the bomb was concealed in a plastic bag and detonated by a mobile phone. There were reports that another establishment in the precinct had received a threatening call.

The blast comes as the summer tourist season in the Western Cape is about to reach its peak, with numerous high-profile events planned for the millennium. Among visitors expected in the city this week is the Dalai Lama, heading the 6,000-delegate Parliament of World Religions.

One of the first people at the scene of yesterday's bombing, Brad Geyser, of South African National Sea Rescue, said the device was wrapped in a plastic bag. He said at least seven children were among the injured.

"There were six people lying on the pavement, one was critical, she had had her leg blown off. Others were running around shouting that there were some seriously injured in the restaurant. I went in using a torch. The ceiling was hanging down. All the windows were blown out,'' he said.

A police spokesman said: "It was a pipe bomb hidden in a plastic bag under one of the tables in the middle of the restaurant." He said police could not be certain about the motive for the attack, and added that there had been no credible claim of responsibility or any sort of warning.

A spokeswoman for City Park Hospital, which 15 months ago dealt with most of the victims of the Planet Hollywood bomb, said 20 people from the Camps Bay blast had been brought in for treatment. "We have taken five patients in overnight. The rest have been sent home,'' she said.

Another hospital, the N1 City Clinic, said it was treating a 21-year- old St Elmo's employee for shrapnel injuries to both legs.

Camps Bay, an upmarket area south of Cape Town, has one of the city's most beautiful beaches, visited at weekends by people of all backgrounds. St Elmo's is part of a chain of Cape Town-owned restaurants.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Ashdown Group: Graduate UI Developer - HTML, CSS, Javascript

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Graduate UI Application Developer - ...

Day In a Page

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?
Season's finale brings the end of an era for top coaches and players across the continent

The end of an era across the continent

It's time to say farewell to Klopp, Clement, Casillas and Xavi this weekend as they move on to pastures new, reports Pete Jenson
Bin Laden documents released: Papers reveal his obsession with attacking the US and how his failure to keep up with modern jihad led to Isis

'Focus on killing American people'

Released Bin Laden documents reveal obsession with attacking United States
Life hacks: The innovations of volunteers and medical workers are helping Medécins Sans Frontières save people around the world

Medécins Sans Frontières's life hacks

The innovations of volunteers and medical workers around the world are helping the charity save people
Ireland's same-sex marriage vote: As date looms, the Irish ask - how would God vote?

Same-sex marriage

As date looms, the Irish ask - how would God vote?
The underworld is going freelance: Why The Godfather's Mafia model is no longer viable

The Mafia is going freelance

Why the underworld model depicted in The Godfather is no longer viable