A bomb exploded today in a shopping arcade crowded with sun-seeking Christmas vacationers, killing at least seven whites, including three women and two toddlers, authorities said.
They said scores of people--perhaps more than 50--were injured when the bomb went off in a trash can at the Sanlam Center, about 200 yards from the bustling Indian Ocean beaches of Amanzimtoti, a resort town south of Durban.
As rescuers rushed among dazed, stumbling survivors, wounded children in bathing suits and rubber sandals crawled through pools of blood, screaming hysterically.
"It was just too horrible," said Larry Oosthuizen, who owns a store across the street from the site of the mid-morning blast. "There were bodies lying mutilated on the ground. There was thick, black, smelly smoke all over the place.
'Children Covered in Blood'
"Women were running around, holding their children, screaming. There were people, children covered in blood."
No one immediately claimed responsibility.
Most bombs in South Africa are blamed on or claimed by the African National Congress, the main guerrilla force trying to smash the apartheid system of racial separation.
The shopping arcade bombed today is popular with people heading to or from the beach.
Police said at least 24 suffered wounds. But spokesmen for area hospitals said many people walked in without police aid to have wounds treated and that more than 50 may have been wounded.
Winnie Mandela Released
The bombing came as Winnie Mandela, wife of imprisoned African National Congress leader Nelson Mandela, was released without bail today after twice being arrested over the weekend for violating an order barring her from Johannesburg and its surrounding black township of Soweto.
The government has declared Mandela a "banned" person, meaning her movements are restricted and she is often forbidden from speaking to more than one person at a time.
On Saturday, police forcibly dragged Mandela from her Soweto home but she returned--in direct violation of the banning order. On Sunday morning, police arrested her and held her overnight in Krugersdorp, about 20 miles west of Johannesburg.
After her release today, Mandela went to Cape Town in an attempt to avoid a new arrest by returning to Soweto, said Prapkash Diar, one of her lawyers.
Diar said she will spend part of Christmas Day with her husband, who is serving a life sentence in Pollsmoor Prison for treason and sabotage.