Spain raises terrorism alert ahead of elections

21st February 2008, Comments 0 comments

Spain has raised its terrorism alert to the maximum level ahead of the 9 March elections, the Interior Ministry said Thursday.

21 February 2008

MADRID - Spain has raised its terrorism alert to the maximum level ahead of the 9 March elections, the Interior Ministry said Thursday.

Security was being stepped up in places linked to the elections, such as party headquarters and rally venues, as well as shopping centres, transport hubs and other crowded places.

Interior Minister Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba said he expected the militant Basque separatist group ETA to attempt an attack, though he described the group as very weak and almost defeated.

During the legislature presided over by Socialist Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, ETA has only killed four people, while nearly 400 of its members or collaborators were arrested.

Spain also faces the threat of Islamist attacks. In 2004, Islamist extremists killed 191 people in the Madrid train bombings just before the elections, allegedly contributing to Zapatero's victory after eight years of conservative rule.

The Socialists now have a slight lead over the conservatives in polls. The electoral campaign was scheduled to take off at midnight.

[Copyright dpa 2008]

Subject: Spanish news

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