Soldier shot and injured, ETA suspected of attack

16th October 2007, Comments 0 comments

16 October 2007, MADRID- (AFP) - A Spanish army officer in the Basque region of northern Spain was shot and injured near an army barracks in San Sebastian, police and medical officials told AFP on Tuesday.

16 October 2007

MADRID- (AFP) - A Spanish army officer in the Basque region of northern Spain was shot and injured near an army barracks in San Sebastian, police and medical officials told AFP on Tuesday.

Basque police were investigating whether the officer was shot by the Basque separatist organisation ETA or as a result of an unintentional discharge.

"There is not sufficient evidence to say that this was an attack," but it is considered a possibility, said a Basque police officer.

The 28-year-old man was shot in the left shoulder, apparently by a lone gunman, at around 10:00 pm (2000 GMT), but was able to call the emergency services and was taken to hospital where he underwent surgery.

Anti-terrorist officials told Europa Press news agency that the soldier fired two shots after he was hit.

Spanish police on Monday detained another senior member of Batasuna, ETA's banned political wing.

The arrest of Asier Imaz was ordered by top anti-terrorist judge Baltasar Garzon and was linked to the detention earlier this month of 17 other Batasuna leaders.

In the minutes of Garzon's order to have the 17 detained he was cited as having attended two meetings of the party in December last year as well as the presentation of a Batasuna regional office in March 2006.

Batasuna has been banned as a party since 2003 for refusing to condemn violence and cut its links to ETA, which has killed 819 people during almost four decades of fighting for the independence of the Basque region.

Both Batasuna and ETA are considered to be terrorist organisations by the European Union and the United States.

Interior Minister Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba told Cadena Ser radio Monday that ETA would likely try to step up its attacks until a general election in March next year to "do as much harm as possible" to the Socialist government.

"I believe that ETA wants to show the government ... that you can't say no to it with impunity," he said in reference to Madrid's refusal to recognize the Basque right to self-rule in its failed peace process with the armed group.

The minister said Batasuna was "completely submissive to ETA" and that it had shown itself to "completely lack independence" by backing ETA's decision to officially call off its 15-month ceasefire.

Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero has adopted a hard line against ETA since the group officially called off a 15-month ceasefire in June.

The government aborted its peace process with ETA after the group staged a car bombing at Madrid airport in December 2006 that killed two people.

Fifty-four percent of Spaniards back the anti-terrorism policy adopted by the government after the end of the ceasefire while 79.6 percent agree with the detention of Batasuna's leadership, according to a poll for Cadena Ser made public on Monday.

ETA is blamed for 819 deaths in its nearly 40-year, violent struggle for an independent Basque nation in northern Spain and parts of southwestern France.

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Subject: Spanish news

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