Car bombing in Bilbao, one hurt, ETA blamed

9th October 2007, Comments 0 comments

9 October 2007, MADRID - (AFP) - A car exploded Tuesday in Spain's northern Basque country, wounding a bodyguard, regional authorities said.

9 October 2007

MADRID - (AFP) - A car exploded Tuesday in Spain's northern Basque country, wounding a bodyguard, regional authorities said.

Spanish media said the blast had the hallmarks of the armed Basque separatist group ETA, and targeted a local legislator from the Basque Socialist Party in the town of Galdakao, Jose Domingo, who was unhurt.

The blast occurred in the city of Bilbao at around 1:25pm, a spokesman for the Basque interior ministry said. He said a bodyguard was wounded.

"The car caught fire and one person left the vehicle," a police spokesman added, but gave no further details.
The cause of the explosion was not immediately known. Police were unable to confirm if the blast resulted from a suction bomb placed under the vehicle, a method often used by the ETA.

The blast follows the arrest by Spanish police on Thursday of almost the entire leadership of ETA's political wing, Batasuna.

The most senior Batasuna official still at liberty, Pernando Barrena, has termed the arrests a "declaration of war" and warned of a "new cycle of violence" in Spain.

ETA -- listed as a terrorist organisation by the European Union and the United States -- is blamed for the deaths of 819 people during almost four decades of fighting for independence for the Basque region which they say includes parts of northern Spain and southwest France.

Earlier Tuesday, Spanish Interior Minister Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba said the government had stepped up security measures throughout the country, fearing a new ETA attack.

He said security will be particularly tight on the country's national day on Friday, when King Juan Carlos, Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero and senior government and military leaders will attend a military parade in Madrid.

Spain's Socialist government, which is facing a general election in March 2008, has taken a hard line against ETA since the armed group ended a 15-month-old ceasefire in June.

Since then it has staged a car bombing in August outside police barracks in the northern city of Durango that injured two officers.

Spain's top anti-terrorist judge, Baltasar Garzon, on Sunday ordered 17 of the arrested Batasuna leaders held in jail while he probed terrorism-related charges against them.

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Subject: Spanish news

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