URGENT Two Explosions Hit Court of Justice in Liege, Killing at Least One Person
BRUSSELS, Belgium (AP) _ Two bombs exploded today at the Court of Justice building in the city of Liege, killing one person and slightly injuring two, police and fire officials said.
The Belgian news agency Belga reported two people dead and several injured in the 3 p.m. bombing.
About 10 hours earlier, explosions in Belgium and France damaged a NATO fuel pipeline and the civilian agency that manages it. No one was injured in either of those blasts.
Police reported no immediate claim of responsibility for the bombings at the 16th-century law courts building in the center of Liege, 62 miles east of Brussels. All traffic was barred from the downtown area of the industrial city.
The explosions occurred minutes before the start of an annual swearing-in ceremony in the justice building for new lawyers and, according to an unconfirmed report, the person killed had carried the explosives into the building.
Justice Minister Jean Gol was due to attend the ceremony. It was not immediately known if he was hurt.
Belgian police said an anonymous telephone caller claimed responsibility for the pipeline blast on behalf of the Fighting Communist Cells, a leftist terror group.
That explosion occurred about 5:30 a.m. in Wortegem-Petergem, a community near Oudenaarge, damaging a pipeline pumping station but causing no fire.
Traffic along a nearby railway link was halted for hours, but the tracks were not damaged. Police kept reporters and photographers away from the site.
French police said they received no claim of responsibility for the other blast, which occurred about a half-hour prior to the pipeline explosion at the office of the Central Europe Operating Agency. That agency manages the pipeline.
The explosion blew out windows and doors in the office, which is located in Versailles, near Paris.
Belgian officials speculated the two blasts were linked. No damage estimate was available for either blast.
On Dec. 11, 1984, six explosions damaged the pipeline in five other rural Belgian locations. The Fighting Communist Cells, which is believed to have links to leftist terror groups in France and West Germany, also claimed responsibility for those blasts.
In all, the group has said it was behind 20 bomb attacks in Belgium in the past 14 months, the latest of which was an explosion that heavily damaged a Bank of America office in Antwerp on Wednesday.
That blast blew a gaping hole in the main floor of the bank and blew out many windows. Several people were slightly injured.
On Nov. 21, a bomb damaged the Brussels offices of Motorola Inc. as President Reagan briefed NATO allies on his Geneva summit talks with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.
The NATO pipeline is part of a 3,540-mile network of fuel lines through Belgium, France, West Germany, Luxembourg and the Netherlands.
It guarantees fuel supplies for allied forces in wartime and peace. Unused capacity of the line is used by commercial contractors.
The pipeline is indirectly part of NATO’s logistics operations, but staffed and directed by the eight nations that use it. In addition to the five European nations through which it runs, Britain, Canada and the United States also make use of the system for their armed forces.