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ETA strikes: 4 bombings, no-one hurt

Latest update : 2008-07-20

The Basque separatist group ETA exploded four bombs in seaside resorts of northern Spain, after warning authorities. There were no reported casualties.


MADRID - Three bombs exploded at popular seaside resorts in Cantabria, northern Spain on Sunday, after warning calls from the Basque separatist group ETA.


There were no casualties because the authorities evacuated the areas in response to the warning.


"We received a call at around 10.30 am from someone who said they represented ETA and told us ETA had planted 4 bombs on beaches at Laredo, Noja and Noja golf course," said an emergency services official.


The first bomb exploded at about 1015 GMT on a seafront promenade in Laredo, one of northern Spain's most popular holiday destinations, damaging the walkway, breaking windows and sending a 25 metre plume of smoke into the air, an official said.


Holidaymakers had been cleared from the beach 45 minutes earlier and took cover in local cafes and bars which drew down shutters to protect against the blast, witnesses told radio.


"There were no injuries because the area had been cleared and cordoned off," a national government spokesman said.


Many European schools have started, or are beginning to start their summer holidays.


The second bomb went off in dunes at Noja, about 19 miles (30 km) from Laredo, causing a loud blast but no damage, Spanish media reported.


Poor weather meant there were few people on the Noja beach but a police call to evacuate the area sent tourists running, blocking the road out of town to the city of Bilbao, media reported.

The third explosion was in Laredo, again causing no injuries, officials said.


Police continued to look for the fourth device.


The explosions marked the beginning of ETA's traditional summer bombing campaign in which it targets Spanish holiday resorts as part of its 4-decade struggle for an independent Basque state in northern Spain and southern France.


Emergency authorities received a call telling them ETA had planted four bombs on the beaches of Laredo, Noja and Noja's golf course. The call said the devices would explode between 1000 GMT and 1300 GMT on Sunday, said a government official.


ETA (Euskadi ta Askatasuna, or Basque Country and Freedom) is listed as a terrorist organisation by Spain, the United States and the European Union. It has killed more than 800 people since 1968, typically with car bombs or shootings.


More than 750 suspected ETA members have been detained since 2000.


The Cantabria blasts were the first attributed to ETA since May 14 when the separatists exploded a bomb without warning at the Civil Guard barracks in Legutiano, killing policeman Juan Manuel Pinuel-Villalon and injuring 4 others.


Date created : 2008-07-20