MADRID -- The Islamic Jihad is suspected of planting a bomb that killed 18 people and destroyed a restaurant filled with U.S. servicemen in Spain's worst terrorist attack since its civil war, the government said Sunday.
The bombing Friday night occurred less than a month before President Reagan's scheduled visit to Madrid.
Interior Minister Jose Barrionuevo said an investigation concluded a bomb caused the blast that tore through the Descanso restaurant outside Madrid, sending the three-story building crashing down on 200 diners and employees.
The explosion killed 18 Spaniards and injured 82 others, including 15 Americans. One American, George Gamer, and his Spanish wife Celia were still hospitalized Sunday. Officials said the woman was in intensive care after two operations.
Coffins containing the victims were lifted into hearses at the Madrid city morgue and driven away for private funerals, followed by grieving relatives who were stunned and angered by the attack.
Spanish officials said the bombing was believed to be aimed at American servicemen, who on weekends normally converge on the popular steakhouse 9 miles from Madrid near the Torrejon U.S. Air Force Base.
'Police believe the most credible claim was the one made in Beirut by the Shiite Moslem group Islamic Jihad,' Barrionuevo said in an interview broadcast by Spanish National Radio. He did not elaborate.
In Beirut Saturday, an anonymous caller claimed responsibility on behalf of a group called Islamic Jihad-Islamic Resistance, saying 'its second operation this month' was in retaliation for a Beirut car bombing that killed 92 people in March.
Islamic Jihad, or Holy War, is a shadowy Moslem fundamentalist group that has claimed suicide attacks in Beirut against the U.S. Embassy and the U.S. Marine headquarters in 1983. The group also claimed responsibility for bombing the U.S. Embassy annex in east Beirut last September.
Islamic Jihad is one of several groups that claimed responsibility for the bombing two weeks ago of a Paris movie theater during a Jewish film festival. Eighteen people were wounded in the blast.
A police report on the Madrid bombing said investigators concluded the 13-pound chloratite bomb was planted near the bathrooms of the restaurant, where they found 'appreciable quantities of chlorate and sulfur.'
Chloratite, a chemical compound made up of potassium, sulfur and chlorate, is an explosive rarely used by Spanish terrorist groups.
It was the worst terrorist attack since the 1936-39 civil war, eclipsing a 1974 bombing of the Rolando cafeteria in Madrid, claimed by the Basque terrorist group ETA. Twelve people died in that explosion.