Blast rocks northern Spanish city
Two people arrested after small explosion causes no injuries
From Al Goodman
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MADRID, Spain (CNN) -- A small bomb shook the northwest Spanish city of Santiago de Compostela Saturday, leaving glass shards scattered across a central plaza and prompting police to cordon off the area.
The explosion, which caused no injuries or significant damage, happened near a bank around 2:45 p.m. (8:45 a.m. ET).
A couple was arrested shortly after placing the bomb, according to a statement from the central government's main office in Santiago de Compostela, the political capital of Spain's northwest region of Galicia.
Galicia police have been on a heightened state of alert ahead of Galicia's National Day, which honors the patron St. James. Each year, thousands flock to the city to celebrate the holiday.
Police suspect radical groups seeking Galicia's independence could be behind the attack, according to the government.
An employee at Husa Universal Hotel, located on the Plaza de Galicia, said the bomb exploded near a local saving and loan bank called Caixa Galicia.
Spanish news reports said it exploded in an automatic teller machine at that bank.
An employee of a second hotel, Hesperia Compostela, located near the bank, told CNN that the portion of his hotel that faces the plaza was evacuated as a precautionary measure.
ETA, a separatist group in northeastern Spain's Basque region, was blamed for a series of small explosions that hit Spain last summer, including an August blast in central Santiago de Compostela that caused no injuries. (Full story)
ETA has been blamed for more than 810 killings since 1968 in its fight for an independent Basque homeland. The group is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States and the European Union.
Santiago de Compostela is located about 600 kilometers or 370 miles northwest of Madrid and is a popular tourist destination.
It is considered one of the most important cities in the Roman Catholic religion and is named for St. James, or Sant Iago in the Galician language.
Each year, thousands of pilgrims walk various routes across Europe to visit the cathedral at Santiago de Compostela, where the apostle St. James is said to be buried.
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