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Car packed with explosives left in front of Guatemala's prisons bureau

GUATEMALA CITY — Police in Guatemala City found a car packed with gunpowder, nails and propane tanks parked outside the national prison headquarters Monday, along with cellphones apparently designed to detonate the load.

Police specialists deactivated the devices without incident.
It is apparently the first car bomb attack attempted by Guatemalan criminals in recent memory. In neighbouring Mexico, drug cartels have started using such bombs; four have gone off there since July, mainly targeting police.
Guatemalan Interior Minister Carlos Menocal said the incident may be related to street gangs' anger over a recent government decision to transfer gang members.

Menocal said a guard noticed the car parked outside the prison office, and when he looked inside he saw wires connecting the gas tanks to a large metal box.

The alert was sounded and when specialists defused the device and looked inside the box, they found it was packed with gunpowder, nails and screws apparently intended to spread projectiles over the blast area.
The device appeared to be "homemade but of large dimensions," Menocal said.

While Guatemala has not seen car-bombings before, street gangs have been blamed for six grenade attacks on public buses that killed 3 people and wounded 55.