2 Chileans charged with causing Spain church blast

AP News
Posted: Nov 17, 2013 1:31 PM

MADRID (AP) — A Spanish judge on Sunday charged two Chileans with belonging to a terrorist organization, detonating an explosion in a cathedral last month, and conspiring to stage a similar attack at a monastery.

National Court Judge Eloy Velasco said there is enough evidence to try Monica Andrea Caballero Sepulveda, 25, and Francisco Javier Solar Dominguez, 34, for the explosion in northeastern Zaragoza's Basilica of Our Lady of the Pilar.

A camping gas cylinder allegedly filled with black gunpowder exploded under the church's organ on Oct. 2. No one was injured and little damage occurred, but the building was evacuated.

The group the judge declared a terrorist organization is Mateo Morral Commando, which has staged other attacks in Spain, including an explosive device in Madrid's Almudena Cathedral that police defused in February.

In claiming responsibility for the Oct. 2 attack at Our Lady of the Pilar, the group said it was punishing the church's alleged links with Spain's fascist past and its colonialist incursions in South America.

The court said the suspects also were planning to cause an explosion at a basilica within the monastery of Montserrat, near Barcelona, that would have caused "terrorist havoc."

A court statement said the Chileans were arrested Wednesday in Barcelona on suspicion of being part of the "extremely dangerous" Mateo Morral Commando anarchist group.

Documents relating to the group were seized during a search of the apartment the two Chileans shared, Velasco said. Two gas cylinders also were impounded by police, the judge said.

Velasco ordered the Chileans to be held in custody awaiting trial.

Three other suspects were arrested Wednesday and later released, including an Italian woman, 34-year-old Valeria Giacomoni, who allegedly collaborated with the Chilean suspects. The three were ordered to surrender their passports and report daily to police pending further investigations.

The Chileans have been investigated in their country for similar actions, including one at the Los Sacramentos de Santiago de Chile church in 2009, according to Spain's interior minister, Jorge Fernandez Diaz.