Eta bombs signal new terror campaign

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The Independent Online

Nine policemen and two bystanders have been injured in an explosion outside a police station in the Basque city of San Sebastian this morning in an attack blamed on Basque separatists.

Nine policemen and two bystanders have been injured in an explosion outside a police station in the Basque city of San Sebastian this morning in an attack blamed on Basque separatists.

A police spokesman in the northern city said attackers hurled a few grenades at the base and fled shortly before 9 a.m. local time (0800 GMT).

It was the second attack in two days: yesterday two Spanish journalists and their small son narrowly escaped death when a bomb placed outside the front door of their apartment in the Basque town of San Sebastian failed to detonate properly as they left home.

The attack, also blamed on Eta armed separatists, marks an intensification of the Basque terror campaign, despite a strong government crackdown.

It came hours after the Interior Minister, Jaime Mayor Oreja, claimed a Basque Eta commando unit had been dismantled following the arrest of four suspects in Bilbao. Police also searched four apartments and a house and seized three handguns, 80kg of dynamite, five anti-tank grenades, electronic equipment and fake car license plates, he added.

The separatist organisation has been blamed for 20 deaths this year in an intensifying terror campaign that is creating a mounting climate of fear throughout Spain. Aurora Intxausti is the local correspondent for El Pais newspaper, and her husband, Juan Palomo, works for Antena 3 television. Ms Intxausti was on a list of journalists threatened in a pro-Eta video circulated this week.

The Basque regional Interior Minister, Javier Balza, blamed Eta and said the 2kg bomb would have killed both journalists and their son. "It is just by chance, that we are not mourning more deaths," he told the press in Bilbao.

It is the first time an assassination attempt has been directed at ordinary reporters, rather than well-known editors or columnists, a step condemned yesterday as an attempt to stifle freedom of expression. Other reporters have had their homes firebombed in attacks intended to frighten rather than kill.

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