Spain hunts woman after ETA bombings

10th August 2009, Comments 0 comments

Spanish police are looking for a woman suspect following recent ETA bombs, all planted in ladies toilets.

Palma De Majorca – Spanish police were looking on Monday for a woman suspected of involvement in a recent wave of ETA bombings in Majorca that killed two police officers, media reports said.

Three small bombs which went off on Sunday at two restaurants and a shopping centre located under a major city square in Palma de Majorca were all planted in women's toilets, daily newspapers El Pais and El Mundo reported.

The explosions, which caused no injuries and little damage, were preceded by a warning call to a taxi company, in the name of the armed Basque separatist group ETA.

It was the second attack on the resort island at the height of the tourist season, following a car bombing on 30 July that killed two Civil Guard officers for which ETA claimed responsibility.

Several witnesses have told police in recent days that they saw a suspected member of ETA, Itziar Moreno, whose photo has been distributed by police, near the police barracks where the deadly bombing took place, El Mundo reported.

Police were analysing the debris from Sunday's bombings to try to determine if the timers used in the bombs could have allowed the explosive devices to be planted several days in advance, giving the members of the outfit time to leave the island undetected.

"We have to work on both hypotheses: that they are still here and that they may have quit the island," regional interior ministry delegate Ramon Socias told the news radio station Cadena SER.

Majorca is part of the Balearic Islands archipelago in the Mediterranean Sea, a popular tourist destination especially among Britons and Germans, and officials believe the bombings were aimed at hurting Spain's key tourist sector at the height of the summer holiday season.

A total of 22.8 million passengers passed through the airport last year, according to figures from airport management company AENA.

Germany's ambassador to Spain, Wolf-Ruthart Born, said Berlin had urged its citizens to be cautious in Majorca but was not advising them to stay away from the island in the wake of the latest bombings.

"Majorca continues to be a great travel destination and if the king is in Majorca, Germans can come as well," he told Cadena SER, adding that "despite everything Germans want to continue to come to Majorca."

Spain's King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia enjoy holidaying on the island, and this year arrived at their summer residence on 2 August.

Humphrey Carter, the deputy editor of the English-language Majorca Daily Bulletin who has lived on the island for 13 years, said British tourists were also unfazed by Sunday's bombings, which he said targeted areas mostly frequented by Spaniards.

"It is business as usual. In over 40 years of ETA activity, British tourism has never reacted negatively to it. ETA has never targeted foreign visitors, I don't think they will start now," he told AFP.

Founded half a century ago, ETA is blamed for the deaths of 828 people in its violent campaign for an independent Basque homeland encompassing parts of northern Spain and southwest France.

It is considered a terrorist organisation by the European Union and the United States.

AFP / Expatica

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