A car bomb blamed on the Basque separatist group ETA killed a Spanish Supreme Court judge, his driver and his bodyguard yesterday in the bloodiest attack since the guerrillas called off their ceasefire last year. More than 60 people were injured when a powerful blast tore through the affluent Arturo Soria district of Madrid during morning rush hour, setting a city bus ablaze, wrecking dozens of cars and ripping down the facades of buildings. “It's like a scene out of Dante's “Inferno”, an emergency services spokesman said minutes after the bombing. The explosion bore all the hallmarks of a recent wave of attacks by ETA, already linked to 16 previous killings since ending a 14-month-long truce last December. But the latest bombing near one of the busiest crossroads of the Spanish capital appeared to signal ETA's readiness to escalate its violent campaign to an even more brutal phase. Among the dead was Judge Jose Francisco Querol Lombardero, a 69-year-old magistrate responsible for military hearings at the Supreme Court. The judge, his driver, Armando Medina Sanchez, and his bodyguard, Jesus Escudero Garcia, burned to death in their car. Among the 66 injured, most suffered only cuts and bruises. But six people were seriously hurt, including the driver of a bus that was stopped near the scene of the blast and an 11-year-old schoolgirl who was walking past. The driver suffered head wounds and was in critical condition. Ambulances rushed the badly injured to hospitals, while paramedics set up a tent to treat those with less severe wounds. Blood stained the pavement, and shattered glass lay everywhere on the leafy suburban street in northeastern Madrid. Dazed-looking survivors stood on the sidewalks, some still shaking with fear. Acrid smoke shrouded the area. “I saw a man lying on the ground semi-conscious with blood on his shirt. The bus was burning...I couldn't look any longer,” said the owner of a nearby video store.

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