Pamplona officer dies in 'ninth Eta attack'

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The Independent Online

Spain's bloody summer continued yesterday with the killing of an army officer near the north-eastern city of Pamplona, in an assault blamed on Basque separatists.

Spain's bloody summer continued yesterday with the killing of an army officer near the north-eastern city of Pamplona, in an assault blamed on Basque separatists.

Sub-Lieutenant Francisco Casanova Vicente, 47, was shot three times in the head as he parked his car outside his house, after coming off duty at a barracks near by. His wife, who was at home with one of their sons, was alerted by the sound of the shots and found the lifeless body of her husband.

The latest killing, the ninth attributed to separatists from Eta this year, was reported as mourners were gathering in Zumaia, near San Sebastian, for the funeral of Jose Maria Korta, the Basque businessman killed by a car bomb on Tuesday.

Lt Casanova Vicente's assailant had apparently slipped into the garage through the open door. Neighbours said they saw someone running away after the shots were fired. His body was taken to the military headquarters in Pamplona where it lay in state.

The unremitting violence prompted silent protests and renewed appeals for unity yesterday. The socialist party leader, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, said his party was preparing a formal approach to Jose Maria Aznar's conservative government on a joint policy against separatist terrorism.

The Interior Minister, Jaime Mayor Oreja, called security officers to a meeting in Madrid to consider responses to the attacks. He then visited Mr Aznar, who is on holiday in Valencia.

Pamplona is the capital of the autonomous region of Navarra, which Basque separatists claim as part of a Basque homeland.

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