ETA 'planned attack on Costa del Sol tourist resorts'
22 June 2007, MADRID - Spanish police believe the armed Basque separatist group ETA may have set up a working base in southern Portugal and had planned to attack tourism targets in Spain with explosives police discovered this week in an abandoned car, news reports said Friday.
22 June 2007
MADRID - Spanish police believe the armed Basque separatist group ETA may have set up a working base in southern Portugal and had planned to attack tourism targets in Spain with explosives police discovered this week in an abandoned car, news reports said Friday.
Spanish Civil Guards found the car Thursday near the southern Spanish town of Ayamonte, near the border with Portugal. It contained more than 100 kilograms (220 pounds) of explosive material, detonators, timers and a bomb-making manual in the Basque language.
ETA called off a 15-month cease-fire on June 5, blaming the government for refusing to make concessions in the peace process launched with the truce and warning it was once again becoming active "on all fronts." This prompted fears that renewed ETA violence was imminent, but so far there have been no ETA attacks.
A Civil Guard official said police believe the car was hired Tuesday in Lisbon and abandoned after its driver was alerted to a police checkpoint ahead.
The official was speaking on condition of anonymity as police ground rules forbid him to be identified.
Leading daily El Pais said security forces believed the group may have set up a base in the Algarve region of southern Portugal from which it planned to carry out attacks on tourism locations in southern Spain.
Interior Ministry security chief Antonio Camacho declined to comment on the reports, telling Cadena Ser radio he did not wish to interfere with police investigations.
In the past, ETA has often set off bombs in tourist locations during the peak summer season.
Spain is the world's second most popular tourist destination.
Camacho also refused to confirm or deny reports that two people on a motorbike were seen breaking a window in the car found Thursday and taking something from inside before driving off.
ETA, whose name stands for Basque Homeland and Freedom, called off a 15-month-old cease-fire earlier this month, blaming the government for a failed peace process and saying it was once again becoming "active on all fronts." This was interpreted as signaling an imminent resumption of attacks, but so far there have not been any.
ETA has killed more than 800 people since 1968 in its campaign for a separate Basque state. It is classified as a terrorist group by the United States and the European Union.
[Copyright AP with Expatica]
Subject: Spanish news