by Wendy Peters

PALMANOVA

PALMANOVA was in a state of siege yesterday afternoon in the aftermath of the bomb blast at the Guardia Civil headquarters. Sirens wailed and the media wagons were everywhere.

With threats of a further explosion the Guardia Civil closed off roads; holidaymakers were stranded and unable to reach their hotels. Most were pragmatic although slightly uneasy.

A group of youngsters who were somewhat shocked to learn of the atrocity said: “We never expected anything like this, we're from Cheltenham so have never experienced this kind of thing before, although we can't believe how chilled it all is when just ten minutes from here a bomb has exploded.” The visitors said though they had been impressed with how coolly the situation had been handled by the police.

Almost everyone seemed to have a mobile phone clamped to their ear as they gathered in bars to watch the latest news on television.
Clearly the principal reaction in Palmanova today was one of shock, total disbelief that two people had been killed in the holiday resort by a car bomb.

A couple from Glasgow who were staying at the Comodoro Hotel said they had been ordered to leave a bus they were travelling on along with the rest of the passengers. Many people, they said, were unable to get back to their own hotels and had resorted to taking refuge in a bar, apprehensive to move any further.

It was a chilling reminder for them, said the couple, of the car bomb that had rocked Glasgow airport a few years ago.
The difficulty for visitors in Palmanova however, was that directly after the bomb exploded, police sealed off the immediate vicinity including the carpark. People were unable to return to their cars including those needing to get to the airport. by WENDY PETERS

The sights and sounds were reminiscent of New York in Palmanova yesterday afternoon as sirens wailed and ambulances and police cars drove at breakneck speed through the streets; media wagons were the only vehicles allowed through the cordons, and due to threats of further explosions the Guardia Civil closed off roads and car parks close to the Palmanova Palace Hotel.

Palmanova remained in a state of shock in the aftermath of the tragic bomb blast at the Guardia Civil Barracks that claimed two lives.
Road blocks on the motorway were enforced and many people were advised to abandon their cars on waste land which was turned into a temporary car park close to the motorway at the Calvia exit. Holiday-makers who were stranded and unable to reach their hotels gathered in bars to watch the latest news of the atrocity unfolding on television. Almost everyone appeared to have a mobile phone clamped to their ear as they attempted to reassure their families that they were safe or to make alternative travel arrangements.

One British couple that I encountered were powerless to continue their journey, they had driven from Calvia, parked in the car park whilst they picked up some shopping before making their way to the airport to collect their family; the Guardia made it quite clear that no one was to be allowed into or out of the car park until further notice and that included me! A British owner of a local Estate Agent who wished to remain anonymous said that he and his wife had been close to the scene of the blast when the bomb went off; both were in shock and didn't wish to comment further about their harrowing experience. The atmosphere around Palmanova was one of bewilderment and unease yet devoid of any signs of panic.

The question on some people's lips was an apprehensive, “will there be more bombs?” Lyn Clifford owner of a hairdressing salon some short distance away was with her assistant in the salon, “It was just before 2 o'clock when we heard this very loud bang, the building shook and it literally blew the door wide open, I never for one moment thought that it was a bomb, then we could see the smoke rising behind the Aqua Sol Hotel; we couldn't see what it was though. Of course then the camera crews descended. I closed my shop when my last client failed to arrive; I guess she couldn't get through the police cordons. My husband had to leave his car in a car park and I left mine at the shop, everyone seems to be going on foot, it's the only way to get home.” Meanwhile down in the resort itself life continued as usual; tourists strolled along the seafront unperturbed whilst others soaked up the sun on the beach most totally oblivious of the dreadful incident that had occurred a kilometre along the road.

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