Expatica news

ETA plot to attack Royal wedding

5 March 2004

MADRID – Two militant Basque separatists arrested last weekend while trying to mount a bomb attack told police of a plan to disrupt the May wedding of Spain’s crown prince, it was reported Friday.

The terrorists planned to cut off electricity to Madrid, plunging the ceremony into darkness, judicial sources said.

Crown Prince Felipe is to marry his fiancé, former television presenter Letizia Ortiz, in Madrid on 22 May, in a spectacular ceremony with 1,500 guests from around the world.

ETA suspects Gorka Vidal and Izkur Badillo were arrested Sunday in the province of Cuenca while en route to Madrid with a van filled with 536 kilos (1,181 pounds) of explosives that they allegedly planned to set off outside the Spanish capital.

The sources said the two suspects acknowledged to police that they are members of the radical Basque separatist group ETA and that they planned to cause “panic” in Madrid by detonating the van bomb.

The judicial sources said that in statements to the Civil Guard, Spain’s militarised national police, the two suspects also spoke of plans for another attack to coincide with the royal wedding in May.

They said the plot entailed blowing up eight electricity pylons with the goal of causing a giant blackout in Madrid.

According to the suspects, their aim was to provoke a blackout on 22 May, the day of the wedding.

But they also claimed they might have carried out the attack a week beforehand, since the main objective was to spark confusion and uncertainty among residents and tarnish Spain’s image internationally.

Since 1968, ETA has killed more than 830 people in a violent campaign to create an independent Basque nation in parts of northern Spain and southwestern France.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

                                            Subject: Spanish news