Thousands demonstrate against latest ETA killing
Thousands of Basques on Monday observed 15 minutes of silence to protest against the latest bombing which killed an army officer on Monday.22 September 2008
SANTONA / BILBAO / MADRID -- Thousands of Basques on Monday observed 15 minutes of silence to protest the killing of a soldier by the militant Basque separatist group ETA on early Monday morning.
The rallies were organised by the Basque regional government and city halls around the northern Spanish region.
"Spanish society will never cede to the dictates of the terrorist gang ETA, but will submit the killers to the weight of the law," Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero said.
The prime minister vowed to use all available means to capture the killers of staff-sergeant Luis Conde de la Cruz, 46, and to prevent new attacks.
The army officer was killed after a car bomb exploded in Santona in the northern Cantabria region on early Monday morning.
A road assistance service in the neighbouring Basque region received a phone call in the name of ETA, warning that a bomb was about to explode at a military academy and residence within half an hour.
The bomb exploded while the building was being evacuated and killed Conde de la Cruz who had been spending his holidays at the military residence.
Another military officer and an elderly female passer-by were reported seriously injured. At least four other people were treated for slighter injuries or shock.
The bomb was estimated to have contained between 80 and 100 kilograms of explosives. The blast caused material damage as far as 400 metres from the site.
The attack was ETA's third within 24 hours.
On Sunday morning, 11 people were injured by a car bomb explosion at a police station in the Basque town of Ondarroa near Bilbao. The attack was clearly meant to kill as many police officers as possible, said Basque regional Interior Minister Javier Balza.
That attack came only hours after a car bomb exploded in front of a bank in the regional capital Vitoria, causing no injuries as an anonymous warning gave police time to clear the area.
The three cars appeared to have been stolen and loaded with explosives in neighbouring France, where ETA has a large part of its infrastructure, Interior Minister Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba said.
ETA is believed to have rebuilt its so-called Vizcaya cell after arrests of its members in July.
Conde de la Cruz was the third person killed in 2008 by ETA, and the fifth since the group ended its 14-month ceasefire in June 2007 following the collapse of an attempt at peace talks with the government.
ETA has been conducting shootings and bombings since 1968 for an independent Basque state in northern Spain and southwestern France. It has killed more than 825 people.
[dpa / Expatica]