Spain increases security before national day
9 October 2008
MADRID — Spain increased security across the country before its national day on Sunday because of the threat of an attack by Basque separatist group ETA, a top interior ministry official said Wednesday.
Spain also increased guards along its border with France, which is traditionally used as a base by the separatist group, in cooperation with French authourities, said secretary of state for security, Antonio Camacho.
"What we are doing is avoiding and preventing attacks and guaranteeing the security of our citizens", he told reporters, adding ETA completed several attacks since September and "its intention is to continue carrying them out".
ETA is blamed for 824 deaths in its 40-year campaign of bombings and shootings for an independent Basque homeland, with police and government officials the prime targets.
The group’s last victim was killed by a car bomb exploding outside a military school in the northern Cantabria region, near the Basque region, on 22 September.
The attack was one of three in northern Spain that weekend blamed on ETA, in which 11 people were also wounded.
A bomb exploded Saturday outside a courthouse in the Basque town of Tolosa, causing extensive damage but no injuries.
French authourities on Wednesday returned to Spain a suspected ETA member who was arrested in France in 2001 after a shootout with police, the Spanish interior ministry said.
Inaki Lizundia Alvarez, 30, is a member of ETA’s "information structure" and is wanted for "cooperation with an armed group", the ministry said in a statement.
Alvarez was previously sentenced by a Spanish court to an 18-month jail term for assaulting a police officer in the Basque city of Bilbao in 1993.
[AFP / Expatica]