Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Bombs exploded near magistrates courts in four Spanish towns early on Tuesday and police said they suspected the armed Basque separatist group ETA was to blame.

The explosions damaged buildings but no one was injured, officials said.

Basque police said a caller claiming to represent ETA warned the newspaper Gara shortly before one bomb exploded in a rubbish bin in the Basque town of Guernica. Journalists at the scene said the bomb twisted a railing outside a school near the court.

There were also explosions at Ordizia and Amurrio in the Basque country and the fourth blast, caused by a home-made bomb placed by the window of a court, was at Berriozar in Navarre, a region adjoining the Basque country, a government official said.

ETA, classed as a terrorist organisation by Spain, the European Union and the United States, has killed nearly 850 people since 1968 in its campaign for an independent Basque state carved out of northern Spain and southwestern France.

Police in both countries have arrested dozens of ETA suspects in the last year, including many senior leaders.

ETA has carried out about 20 minor attacks this year, but has not killed anyone since May 2003.

The Socialist government recently offered to talk to ETA if the group first laid down its arms, but ETA has continued to carry out sporadic bombings.
Well of course, they're just playing their hand...

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