Spain and Portugal to unite in fight against ETA

27th August 2007, Comments 0 comments

27 August 2007, MADRID - Armed Basque separatist group ETA may have established an operational base in Portugal from where it planned a recent bomb attack, Spain's Interior Minister said.

27 August 2007

MADRID - Armed Basque separatist group ETA may have established an operational base in Portugal from where it planned a recent bomb attack, Spain's Interior Minister said.

Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba, speaking on state broadcaster RNE, said there was evidence ETA had acquired vehicles in Portugal that were used Friday in a terror attack in the Basque city of Durango. The attack injured two Spanish police officers, destroyed cars and shattered windows.

"There is a possibility that ETA might have a small infrastructure in southern Portugal, probably in the Algarve," Rubalcaba said.

A van packed with an estimated 80-100 kilograms (180-220 pounds) of explosives blew up outside Durango's police station, and a second car with Portuguese license plates was used by suspected separatists as a getaway.

It was the second incident leading Spanish officials to suspect a link with Portugal. In June, an abandoned car holding explosive material and a bomb-making manual in the Basque language was found on a road near the town of Ayamonte, near the border with Portugal. Police said the car had been rented in Lisbon, and likely was abandoned after its driver was alerted to a police checkpoint ahead.

Spanish anti-terrorism experts are to visit Portugal on Monday to investigate the latest bombing and share information with Portuguese counterparts to determine whether there were ETA operations in Portugal.

Spain and Portugal may soon sign an anti-terrorist accord to expand police cooperation, Rubalcaba said.

ETA has often used France as a base, and on Saturday a backpack filled with explosives was found in Souraide _ near the Spanish border in the French Basque country _ which could have been linked with the armed separatist group, French police officials said.

Since 1968, ETA has been accused of killing more than 800 people, primarily Spanish security force members. The group wants to carve out an independent homeland from parts of northern Spain and southwest France.

[Copyright AP with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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