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Grenade Kills Two at Embassy

August 15, 1985

GUATEMALA CITY (AP) _ Mexican officials today blamed a hand grenade tossed into the garden of the Mexican Embassy for the deaths of two employees.

The victims, Heraldo Gomez Soto, 25, a messenger hired two months before, and Eduardo Roldan Hernandez, 45, a gardener, were both Guatemalans. No other injuries were reported in the Wednesday attack.

″This attack constitutes a deplorable act and is, in all lights, irresponsible,″ a statement from the Mexican Foreign Ministry said.

The statement said damage to the building was minor, but Ambassador Abraham Talavera said earlier the 8:30 a.m. explosion damaged a ground-floor library and the military attache’s office and shattered windows.

The statement said Talavera was discussing an investigation into the incident with the Guatemalan authorities.

The Mexican government news agency Notimex quoted unnamed police as saying the grenade was wrapped in rags and thrown from the street into the garden. It exploded when Roldan Hernandez picked it up, the agency said.

Fire, police and embassy officials said they had no indication of who was responsible.

In Mexico City, Guatemalan Ambassador Julio Cesar Mendez Montenegro, speaking in a television interview, denied that the grenade was thrown by terrorists, but gave no other explanation.

Talavera said the embassy had received no threats.

At least 46,000 Guatemalans, most of them Indian peasants, have fled to Mexico since 1980 to escape the violence of a leftist insurgency and an army campaign to eliminate the rebels and their grassroots support.

Guatemalan officials allege that the guerrillas take refuge in Mexican camps. Mexico denies the charge.

Observers attribute an increase in violence in recent weeks to the campaign for Guatemala’s presidential elections Nov. 3.

Update hourly