ETA 'plans attack on high speed train link'

22nd October 2007, Comments 0 comments

22 October 2007, MADRID -(AFP) - The armed separatist group ETA plans to strike a high-speed railway under construction in Spain's northern Basque region, the Spanish daily ABC reported Monday.

22 October 2007

MADRID -(AFP) - The armed separatist group ETA plans to strike a high-speed railway under construction in Spain's northern Basque region, the Spanish daily ABC reported Monday.

The newspaper cited a document seized from a recently detained ETA member.

The railway, which will link Bilbao, the Basque region's financial centre, with its regional capital Vitoria and San Sebastian near the French border, is scheduled to be completed in 2013.

The project has the backing of the moderate nationalist PNV party that governs the Basque region.

ETA believes that "putting pressure" on the project will win the group support among ecologists, who have a strong following in the Basque Country, according to the document seized by police following the arrest in July in France of ETA's alleged logistics chief, Juan Cruz Maiza Artola.

"It is a major project ordered by Madrid, with the green light of the autonomists of the PNV, that goes directly against the independence project," ABC quoted the document as saying.

ETA, which has killed 819 people during almost four decades of fighting for Basque independence, has taken aim at major construction projects that are seen as hurting the enviroment in the past as a means of gaining support.

The group targeted workers involved in the construction of a nuclear power plant at Lemoiz which was eventually dropped, and it opposed the construction of a highway through the Leizaran Valley.

The Basque regional government recently pushed back the completion date for the high-speed railway to 2013 from 2010.

The high-speed railway is also opposed by Batasuna, ETA's outlawed political wing, according to documents seized from the members of the party who were recently arrested, ABC reported.

Earlier this month Spanish police detained 23 Batasuna leaders or collaborators, 17 of whom have been jailed.

In recent months there have been repeated acts of sabotage of railway tracks in the Basque region which have been blamed on young Basque radicals.

Anti-terrorism experts do not exclude the possibility that these acts of sabotage are trials of techniques to be applied later on the high-speed railway, the newspaper reported.

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Subject: Spanish news

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