Two killed in Spain blast in suspected gender-based violence incident

By Vincent West

ORIO, Spain (Reuters) -Two people - a man and woman - died in an explosion in the town of Orio in northern Spain, the Basque regional security department said on Tuesday, and media cited authorities as saying the incident was being investigated as likely gender-based violence.

A department spokesperson said the blast took place around 5.30 p.m. (1530 GMT) in the fishing town of around 6,000 people near the border with France and that there was no indication at the time that any other people had been hurt.

A Reuters witness said police had cordoned off an area around a sidewalk bench where the blast occurred, next to a children's playground.

Several Spanish TV channels broadcast an image that they said was from the scene that showed two dead bodies - one sitting on a bench and one lying on the pavement - in a pool of blood. There were few signs of an explosion, with the bench, shrubs behind it and a bin nearby apparently undamaged.

The head of the Basque region, Inigo Urkullu, lamented what he described as a "tragic event supposedly caused by gender-based violence," without giving more details, and asked for a minute of silence during a political rally, according to several local media outlets.

News agency EFE, quoting police sources, reported the preliminary investigation pointed toward a package held by one of the victims being the source of the explosion.

(Reporting by Vincent West, David Latona and Corina Pons; Editing by Angus MacSwan and Rosalba O'Brien)