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Northern Spain blast now believed to be shooting, security chief says

Police cordon off the area where a man and a woman died in a suspected bomb blast in Orio

MADRID (Reuters) - Police investigating what at first seemed like an explosion in northern Spain that killed a man and a woman now believe it was a murder-suicide with a sawn-off shotgun, authorities said on Wednesday.

According to Basque regional security chief Josu Erkoreka, a man with a hidden "manipulated firearm" is presumed to have shot his ex-partner before turning the gun on himself when they met on Tuesday near her home in the fishing town of Orio.

"Witnesses interpreted the noise as an explosion from a homemade device," he told a news conference.

Erkoreka said the couple were the only victims of the incident.

So far this year, at least 17 women have been allegedly killed in Spain by their partner or former partner, according to the Equality Ministry.

(Reporting by Inti Landauro; Editing by David Latona and Alison Williams)