Car bomb in Barcelona injures two

Basque separatist group ETA suspected
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The Independent Online

A car bomb has exploded in the Spanish city of Barcelona, slightly injuring two people.

A car bomb has exploded in the Spanish city of Barcelona, slightly injuring two people.

The bomb went off downtown around 1 a.m. Spanish time in Gandesa Street near a Hilton hotel, said an Interior Ministry spokesman, speaking on customary condition of anonymity.

A street sweeper and a security guard at a nearby department store were slightly injured, he said. The security guard was taken to a hospital with shrapnel wounds, while the other man was treated at the scene, TVE television reported.

The Interior Ministry spokesman said an anonymous caller to the Barcelona daily newspaper Avui had telephoned a warning and claimed responsibility on behalf of the Basque separatist group ETA.

Julia Garcia Valdecasas, the Interior Ministry's top representative in Barcelona, Spain's second largest city, said the bombing did not cause any major damage, but it could be heard for 2 miles.

"The ETA members "wanted to frighten, and spread terror," Garcia Valdecasas said.

TVE television said Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar was scheduled to visit Barcelona Thursday morning to give a news conference near the site of the blast.

The Basque separatist group ETA has frequently used car bombs as part of its 32-year-old campaign for Basque independence, in which some 800 people have been killed.

The attack, the second in Barcelona this year, came three days after another car bomb in a busy residential area in Madrid killed a supreme court judge, his driver and a police escort, and injured more than 60 people.

Spanish authorities blame ETA for 19 deaths this year.