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Explosion in Car Kills Four

August 18, 1986 GMT

TOULON, France (AP) _ A car transporting explosives blew up early today in this Mediterranean port city, killing the driver and all three passengers, police reported.

The explosion, at about 1 a.m. near Toulon’s central market, wrecked the car and started a fire in a nearby building.

The fire destroyed a store specializing in toys and baby clothes, police said. Witnesses said bits of clothing and shards of metal were scattered through the street, and windows shattered in nearby apartments.

French television and news agency reports, quoting unidentified police sources, said investigators believed the four people killed in the blast were transporting a bomb that went off prematurely. The victims were not immediately identified and police refused to provide any further information.

News reports speculated that the likely target was a nearby office of the group SOS-Racism, which organizes demonstrations to protest discrimination and assaults against immigrants.

Charred leaflets were found at the scene reading in part, ″The French are us, but not them,″ and signed SOS-France, the news reports said, without citing sources.

A group called SOS-France was formed in Toulon earlier this year by extremists who split off from the ultra-right National Front party, which won 35 seats in national legislative elections in March on a platform featuring appeals for tighter controls on immigration.

The telephone number listed for SOS-France in Toulon rang unanswered on Monday.

The National Front issued a statement today saying it ″always has condemned terrorism no matter what the source.″ The statement said ″the death penalty has been rendered directly to the occupants of the car,″ adding the front was ″satisfied with this sentence.″