CNN News: "Prague Casino Grenade Wounds 18"
Prague casino grenade wounds 18
Sunday, August 1, 2004 Posted: 11:16 AM EDT (1516 GMT)Police have sealed off the scene of the blast.
PRAGUE, Czech Republic (CNN) -- A grenade has exploded outside a hotel and casino in Prague's historic center, wounding 18 people, including at least one child, officials said.
The hand grenade went off at about 12:30 p.m. (6:30 a.m. ET) Sunday beneath a car outside the Casino Royal, police sources said.
It was not clear whether the grenade was placed there or landed there by mistake, the sources said.
The car, a white Jeep Cherokee with U.S. plates, absorbed much of the blast.
Witnesses reported seeing a Mercedes speed away from the area after the explosion.
The Casino Royal, about 50 meters (yards) from Wenceslas Square, is in a popular tourist area. Some people were seated outside at the time of the blast.
The injured included tourists from Britain, the United States, Germany and Slovakia, The Associated Press quoted Czech officials as saying. The British Foreign Office in London said at least two Britons were among the injured.
Czech Prime Minister-designate Stanislav Gross said the blast was "a criminal act," not a terrorist attack.
He told Czech radio the incident was "a case of gangs settling accounts." Police said the attack may have involved racketeering.
The casino's original owner, an Israeli, was killed two years ago. His son now operates the casino and a few others.
Ten ambulances came to the scene following the blast, and ordnance teams were investigating the incident. Police sealed off the area.
Journalist Frantisek Sulc contributed to this report