Protection for councillors upped after ETA threats

12th June 2007, Comments 0 comments

12 June 2007, MADRID - Spain is to step up protection for recently elected government and opposition party town councilors after the armed Basque group ETA announced it had ended its 15-month cease-fire, security officials said Monday.

12 June 2007

MADRID - Spain is to step up protection for recently elected government and opposition party town councilors after the armed Basque group ETA announced it had ended its 15-month cease-fire, security officials said Monday.

"We have analyzed what possible actions ETA might take. We have to work on the hypothesis of any type of attack," said Javier Balza, the top security official for the Basque region.

Balza, who spoke to reporters after talks with Interior Minister Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba, said there would be a "maximum level for security for all those threatened."

He was referring to politicians elected in March 27 local elections and who are due to take their seats in the coming days.

ETA called off its cease-fire last week, blaming the Spanish government for ruining a once-promising peace process. The group said it would be "active on all fronts," a threat interpreted as meaning it would resume attacks.

The group, whose name is a Basque-language acronym for Basque Homeland Freedom, has killed more than 800 people since 1968 in its campaign for a Basque state. Its preferred methods are car bombs and individual shootings of politicians and security force members.

Many politicians, particularly in the Basque region, have used bodyguards in the past, though that was relaxed during the cease-fire.

ETA killed two people in a car bomb in Madrid on Dec. 30, but later insisted the cease-fire was still on. Its previous fatal attack was in May 2003 when it killed two officers in another car bombing.

[Copyright AP with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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