Basque separatists fingered for firebomb attacks in Spain

18th October 2009, Comments 0 comments

Young Basque separatists are thought to be behind petrol bomb attacks against a bus and three banks in the northern Spanish towns of Bilbao and Ondarroa, the regional government said Saturday.

Madrid - Young Basque separatists are thought to be behind petrol bomb attacks against a bus and three banks in the northern Spanish towns of Bilbao and Ondarroa, the regional government said Saturday.

Masked attackers forced a bus driver from his vehicle in Bilbao at around 10:00 pm (2000 GMT) Friday before throwing several petrol bombs inside, a spokesman for the Basque regional interior ministry told AFP.

The bus was not carrying any passengers, but was completely burnt, and the fire spread to several nearby cars.

An hour and a half later, masked attackers set light to a number of containers in Ondarroa town centre before attacking three nearby banks with petrol bombs, causing significant damage, the spokesman added.

The incidents came ahead of Saturday afternoon's planned demonstrations in the Basque region, called to protest against the arrest of nine pro-independence militants including Arnaldo Ortegi, the leader of Batasuna, the banned political arm of ETA.

On Friday the judge Baltasar Garzon ordered the detention of Otegi and four other militants suspected of trying to rebuild the leadership of Batasuna.

Five other militant separatists arrested Tuesday in the Basque region and neighbouring Navarra have been released, three on bail of 10,000 euros.

Violent attacks in towns, "kale borroka" in the Basque language, are common in the Basque region and Navarra, and are blamed on young pro-independence radicals thought by the Spanish to support the armed separatist group ETA.

They mostly take the form of petrol bomb attacks and acts of sabotage against symbols of the Spanish state, political party buildings and banks.

AFP/Expatica

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