Some 50 injured in Spanish car bombing blamed on ETA

29th July 2009, Comments 0 comments

European Commission condemns attack on police barracks in northern Spain, apparently aimed at causing deaths.

Madrid – A car bomb exploded outside a police barracks in northern Spain early on Wednesday, leaving around 50 people slightly injured in an attack authorities blamed on the Basque separatist group ETA.

The powerful bomb, which went off at around 4am (0200 GMT) in the city of Burgos, destroyed the facade of the barracks of the Civil Guard police force and gouged a crater in front of the modern building, according to images on Spanish television.

Police said 46 people, including 22 women and six children living in the barracks, were slightly injured, most suffering cuts and bruises.

The Spanish government delegate for the Castilla y Leon region, Miguel Alejo, said it appeared to be an attack "like those that the ETA killers carry out."

But he told reporters at the scene that that no warning call was made, something ETA traditionally does prior to its bomb attacks and which has allowed authorities in the past to evacuate the area targeted and reduce the risk of casualties.

He said this attack therefore appeared to be aimed at causing deaths.

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso condemned the attack as "indiscriminate and savage."

"I want to express our firm condemnation of the attack on the Civil Guard barracks in Burgos," he said.

The European Commission's expressed its "complete solidarity with the citizens and the democratic institutions of Spain in the fight against terrorism," he added in a statement.

ETA has frequently targeted the Civil Guard in its 41-year campaign to carve a Basque homeland out of northern Spain and southwestern France.

The group, considered a terrorist organisation by the European Union and the United States, is blamed for the deaths of 825 people.

Spanish public television last month said a new road map of strategic plans by ETA reaffirms its commitment to violence to achieve its aims.

"The terrorists believe that Basque independence is their irreversible goal. Only then will ETA no longer kill," TVE said, quoting a document that it said outlined the group's strategy put together over the past three years.

This latest attack came just two days before the 50th anniversary of ETA's founding, on 31 July 1959, by nationalist students inspired by Marxist-Leninist teachings.

The newspaper El Mundo said on Sunday that security forces were on the alert after receiving information from France that ETA planned to bring three vans packed with explosives into Spain.

Alejo said "the remains of what appear to be a van" that was used in the Burgos attack were found at the scene.

The last ETA attack took place in early July when a bomb exploded in front of the office of the Basque Socialist party.

That came two months after the Socialist Party scored a historic victory that gave the regional government its first non-nationalist chief, Patxi Lopez, who has vowed to make the fight against ETA a priority.

The last fatal attack blamed on ETA was on June 19, when a policeman was killed in a car-bomb blast near the Basque city of Bilbao.

In mid-2007 ETA called off a 15-month-old ceasefire following a deadlock in tentative peace talks with Madrid.

Since then the Socialist government of Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero has taken a hard line against it, and repeatedly ruled out any new negotiations, while a string of operations by Spanish and French police have weakened ETA's leadership.

AFP / Expatica

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