Spanish racists increase attacks

RACISTS GANGS in Catalonia are mounting a wave of attacks against African immigrants, copying last week's assault on an ethnic Moroccan community near Barcelona.

Three Gambian women, one pregnant, were injured when a fire destroyed the ground floor of their apartment block in Girona, north-east of Barcelona, early on Monday. One women broke her leg, wrists and ribs jumping from a first-floor window. Some 27 Gambian women who lived in the block were evacuated.

Hours later, a fire damaged the entrance to a mosque in the nearby town of Banyoles. Last week, 300 residents of Banyoles signed a petition demanding that the mosque be closed because it had been built illegally and attracted "too many" people.

Yesterday the Civil Guards reported that calm had returned to Terrassa, near Barcelona, where 11 skinheads were arrested last week after racist attacks against Moroccan immigrants.

On Monday night police said they had arrested a man in Barcelona over a web page on the Internet that threatened a massacre to "rid the area" of non-whites.