Car Bomb Explodes in Basque Capital in New ETA-Blamed Attack
A car bomb exploded early Monday in front of the court building in Vitoria, northern Spain, slightly injuring one person and causing extensive damage, in a new attack blamed on Basque separatist organization ETA, police said.
The glass front of the four-story court building was seriously damaged in the explosion, which could be heard all through the town, and around 20 cars parked in the vicinity were burned out in the blast.
Windows were blown out of several apartments across the road from the court building, sending inhabitants fleeing in panic.
A passerby was slightly injured by flying glass and was given first aid at the scene of the attack, a Basque police spokesman said.
Since 1968 ETA has been waging a violent campaign for independence for an area that comprises the Basque regions of northern Spain and southwestern France, killing more than 800 people.
Shortly before the explosion an anonymous caller had warned a road association that a bomb would explode around 0400 GMT in Vitoria, the administrative capital of Spain's Basque country, prompting the authorities to seal off the area.
In another call to Basque Radio Euskadi, a caller warned a second explosion would take place around 0430 GMT in the capital. Police later said the call had been a hoax.
Monday's attack follows the arrest on September 23 of the suspected head of logistics of ETA -- Asier Oyarzabal Chapartegui - and four other alleged members of the organization, in what was described by the Basque authorities as a blow to the movement.
The last attack blamed on ETA was a bomb planted in a discotheque in the Navarre region in northern Spain last Thursday, causing severe damage but no injuries.
On Sunday the head of the Basque regional government, nationalist Juan Jose Ibarretxe, toughened his stance towards Madrid, warning that he would call for a referendum on self-determination for the Basque country if the central government continued to refuse talks on the question -- VITORIA, Spain (AFP)
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