Socialist leader maimed in Eta car-bomb attack

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A Basque Socialist Youth leader was seriously injured when a bomb exploded in his car as he drove to work in the town of Sestao, near Bilbao, yesterday.

Eduardo Madina, 27, who worked at a training centre for the unemployed was taken to hospital after the blast and had his left leg amputated after hours of surgery.

The attack, attributed to the separatist group Eta, is the most serious this year and coincided with a meeting in Madrid of socialist and government leaders that is aimed at strengthening a cross-party pact against terrorism.

Jose Rodriguez Zapatero, the Socialist Party leader, abandoned the meeting to head for Bilbao to offer condolences to the family. Protesters gathered in Bilbao last night to reject terrorist violence. A Socialist Youth spokesman said: "This proves that we are all possible victims of Eta assassins."

Yesterday's attack also coincided with the opening of a trial against an Eta member, Jose Javier Arizkuren Ruiz, known as "Kantauri", accused of planning to kill King Juan Carlos in Majorca in 1995. He was dismissed from the courtroom when he refused to recognise the court.