ETA targets government building in failed car bomb

Other News Materials 10 September 2007 13:57 (UTC +04:00)

( AFP ) - Spanish security forces defused Monday an ETA car bomb targeting a government building, officials said, the day after the armed Basque separatist group warned it would "keep striking."

"Fortunately ETA failed with their bomb, which did not explode because of a malfunction," Jose Antonio Ulecia, the top official for the northern Rioja region where the bomb was planted, was quoted as saying by La Rioja radio.

A small explosion, apparently caused by a faulty detonator, occurred late Sunday near the defence ministry offices in Logrono, the capital of Rioja, national radio reported. Nobody was hurt.

Security services called to the scene found a car packed with "about 80 kilos ( 180 pounds) of explosives", Ulecia said, adding that they managed to defuse the bomb at about 7:30 am (0530 GMT) Monday.

A person claiming to speak for ETA had shortly before the blast called the Basque-language daily Gara to warn about the bomb, national radio reported.

ETA, which is blamed for the deaths of 819 people in its 39-year drive for an independent Basque homeland, had Sunday issued a statement vowing to press on with "striking at Spanish state structures on all fronts."

The statement -- its first since calling off a ceasefire on June 5 -- was published in Gara and another Basque newspaper, Berria, which often act as the group's mouthpieces.

ETA said attacks against the Spanish government would continue until "there are democratic conditions which allow political schemes to be protected."

This was taken as a reference to its demands for self-determination in the Basque regions of northern Spain and southwestern France.

ETA also claimed responsibility for a small blast that occurred as the Tour de France bicycle race went through the northern town of Navarro on July 25, and last month's attack on a police barracks in the northern town of Durango.