Eta launches new wave of bomb attacks

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The Independent Online

Basque separatists made their fourth and fifth attacks within a week yesterday, in Eta's most extensive wave of terror for many years. Security forces met to discuss how to counter the latest nationwide offensive.

Basque separatists made their fourth and fifth attacks within a week yesterday, in Eta's most extensive wave of terror for many years. Security forces met to discuss how to counter the latest nationwide offensive.

Police in the southern city of Malaga defused a bomb attached to the underside of a car belonging to a regional Socialist leader. Hours earlier, a bomb blast ruined a shopping centre in the Basque regional capital, Vitoria, at the other end of Spain. No one was about at the time, shortly after midnight.

Jose Asenjo, 51, deputy general secretary of the socialist party in Andalusia, and his wife survived the attack because of a mechanical fault in the bomb attached to his vehicle. Mr Asenjo heard a small explosion as the device fused when he switched on the ignition. He had parked away from his usual spot, suggesting that his attackers had excellent intelligence and had monitored his movements.

The attack follows the murder on Saturday in Malaga of the conservative Popular Party councillor Jose Maria Martin Carpena. Mr Martin Carpena was shot in the back of the head outside his home.

The attacks in Malaga prompted the Interior Minister, Jaime Mayor Oreja, to declare that Eta had rebuilt its operation in Andalusia and was showing its ability to strike far from its Basque heartland.

The Prime Minister, Jose Maria Aznar, during a visit to Mauritania, said yesterday he had full confidence in Spanish security forces who were "working intensively and effectively against terrorism".

Basque police pledged to reinforce their numbers in the region, and in Malaga regional security services called an emergency meeting to discuss how to strengthen protection for public figures in the light ofthe renewed Eta violence inAndalusia.

Police issued a photograph of the suspected killer of Mr Martin Carpena and urged the public to call a hotline with any information. They describe the suspect, Gorka Palacios Alday, 25, who was pictured unshaven and wearing an earring, as a long-standing Eta member.

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