ETA strikes again with bomb attack at station

27th May 2005, Comments 0 comments

27 May 2005, MADRID — An explosion at a railway station in the Basque town of Barakaldo in northern Spain overnight caused substantial material damage but no injuries, police said.

27 May 2005

MADRID — An explosion at a railway station in the Basque town of Barakaldo in northern Spain overnight caused substantial material damage but no injuries, police said.

Police immediately cordoned off the area after the blast which occurred shortly after midnight at the station, which was virtually empty at the time.

Spanish media reports quoted Barakaldo mayor Tontxu Rodriguez as saying he understood that two hooded men had been seen in the vicinity shortly before the blast.

The explosion, which caused substantial damage to the entrance of the station and the ticket office, came just two days after a car bomb injured five people in Madrid.

Armed Basque separatist group ETA claimed responsibility for that blast in a telephone call to Basque newspaper Gara, the group's habitual channel of communication to give prior warning of its activities.

There was no indication any such call had been received on Friday.

But security sources suggested the latest blast was highly likely to be the work of the Basque terrorist organisation.

Rodriguez slammed those responsible for the blast, telling reporters that "this is how they respond to the outstretched hand of Zapatero".

He regretted that commuters were likely to face disruption to early-morning services from the station.

Last week Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero won controversial parliamentary backing for a plan to open talks with ETA if the group agrees to disband.

ETA is blamed for the deaths of some 800 people in a four-decade campaign of violence to win independence for the Basque region spanning the Pyrenees in northern Spain and south-western France.

The group's last fatal attack was in 2003, but recent days have seen a spate of minor blasts in Madrid and the Basque region.

Relations in the Basque region are tense following the detention of a leading Basque politician, Arnaldo Otegi, the spokesman for the banned Batasuna group, regarded as ETA's political wing, on Wednesday.

Judge Fernando Grande Marlaska ordered Otegi detained on charges of helping to fund ETA pending payment of EUR 400,000 bail.

The move was slammed by Basque nationalist hardliners, several hundred of whom answered a Batasuna call to demonstrate on Thursday night as Spanish government hopes of brokering a political dialogue faltered.

Batasuna had earlier accused Madrid of being behind Otegi's detention.

Spanish authorities banned Batasuna two years ago on the grounds the group is seen as ETA's political mouthpiece and Otegi lost his parliamentary immunity as a result of being barred from standing in an 17 April regional election.

The party's deputy spokesman, Joseba Permach, insisted that "the Socialist party and the government of Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero are primarily responsible for the detention".
 
But Spanish Justice Minister Juan Fernando Lopez Aguilar insisted Otegi's incarceration showed the "determination of all institutions to deal with ETA".

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

 

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