ETA threatens attacks on tourists in letter to KLM

17th February 2005, Comments 0 comments

17 February 2005, VALENCIA-The Basque separatist group ETA sent a letter to the offices of Dutch airline KLM in Spain threatening attacks on tourist targets, police said.

17 February 2005

VALENCIA-The Basque separatist group ETA sent a letter to the offices of Dutch airline KLM in Spain threatening attacks on tourist targets, police said.

Police sources said the letter, sent from Vitoria, in the Basque Country to the airline's offices in Madrid, said: "We cannot guarantee the security of foreign citizens."

ETA has threatened attacks in the past against tourist attacks and recently sent a letter to a number of foreign embassies promising to bomb popular tourist sites across Spain.

But the letter to KLM represents a departure for the terrorist group and raises the spectre of attacks on aircraft.

The revelation comes after two ETA suspects were arrested by police in Valencia on Thursday hours before they planned to carry out an attack before Sunday's EU Constitution referendum.

The suspects were named as Mikel Orbegozo Etxarri, 36, and 25-year-old Sara Majarenas Ibarreta.

Police also revealed they had two pistols, 25 cartridges of dynamite, a limpet mine, false documentation and a list of politicians, business figures and judges who were potential targets.

Orbegozo and Majarenas were arrested near a two-star hostal popular with foreign tourists in a road called Pasaje de la Sangre in the centre of the city.

One of the suspects was about to open fire on police when he was approached by police.

The two ETA suspects started running away, without opening fire, but were quickly arrested.

The area was cordoned off while police carried out a search of the area.

The Attorney General, Cándido Conde-Pumpido, said the arrests were linked to papers seized after the interception of a letter from the suspected head of ETA, a Garikoitz Aspiazu,  called 'Txeroki'.

In the letter, 'Txeroki' had urged ETA 'commandos' to start "killing people as soon as possible" to raise morale among its members.

The arrests follow the revelation on Wednesday that ETA suspect Javier Perez Aldunate, who was arrested last week, had allegedly plotted to assassinate King Juan Carlos with a sniper rifle.

Another suspect was also detained pending further investigation.

A car bomb which exploded in Madrid last week, injuring about 40 people, is believed to have been the work of ETA.

It was planted at a conference centre which King Juan Carlos was attending later the same day.

Fifteen others  were also arrested in a campaign to disable ETA's recruitment network.

Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero recently told Spanish radio there had been no contact between his government and ETA and any negotiation required an end to terrorist violence.

He warned ETA and its supporters that there was no place for them in Spain's democracy.

ETA has been blamed for more than 800 deaths since the 1960s in its battle to form an independent Basque homeland.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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