Former Socialist party official shot in Basque city

By AP Staff
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The Independent Online

Suspected Basque gunmen shot a former Socialist party official in the head in the northern city of San Sebastian today, a day after some 20 people were arrested in a major crackdown on the armed separatist group ETA, news reports said.

Suspected Basque gunmen shot a former Socialist party official in the head in the northern city of San Sebastian today, a day after some 20 people were arrested in a major crackdown on the armed separatist group ETA, news reports said.

The man was identified as Jose Ramon Rikalde, a former party councilor for justice and education in the Basque region. He was being treated by doctors at the scene of the shooting in the Igueldo district of San Sebastian, Spanish Television said.

Earlier in the day Interior Minister Jaime Mayor Oreja had warned that ETA may try to retaliate for the arrests Wednesday.

ETA has killed nearly 800 people since 1968 in its campaign for Basque independence. It has been particularly active since ending a 14-month truce last December and is blamed for 12 killings in shootings and bombings so far this year.

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