Thursday, November 18, 2004

The ETA terrorist group has dismissed recent speculation of a possible cease-fire by announcing they would continue to attack the "Spanish armed forces" in the northern Basque region.

The separatist organization made the statement in a communique sent to Basque radio station Radio Euskadi.

The announcement ended speculation of a cease-fire, a possibility suggested over the weekend by the group's political wing, Batasuna.

Addressing some 10,000 supporters on Sunday in the Basque city of San Sebastian, Batasuna leaders called for "taking the conflict off the streets" and bringing it to the "negotiating table."

However, the outlawed political party did not
explicitly ask ETA to end its violent activities.

In its statement, ETA also warned civilians employed at military facilities in the Basque region "not to collaborate with the occupation forces."

"There will be no peace ... (while) occupation forces" remain in the region, the group said.

ETA has killed more than 850 people since the late 1960s as part of its bloody campaign to carve an independent Basque state out of parts of northern Spain and southern France.