Fifty Years of Basque Terrorism

Fifty Years of Basque Terrorism

The Spanish government has accused the Basque terrorist group ETA of responsibility for back-to-back bombings last week that killed two people and injured more than 50 others. The bloody attacks came as ETA -- short for Euskadi Ta Askatasuna, or Basque Fatherland and Freedom -- marked the 50th anniversary of its founding. Analysts say ETA, which has been considerably weakened in recent years by aggressive counterterrorist police sweeps in Spain and France, hopes the bombings will not only boost sinking morale among its followers, but also force the Spanish government back to the negotiating table.

The latest attack, which killed two Guardia Civil police officers on Thursday, occurred on the Spanish holiday island of Mallorca. Security forces say ETA operatives booby-trapped the victims' police car outside their barracks with a remote-controlled bomb. Police later deactivated another bomb placed beneath a second car near the site of the first explosion. Authorities briefly closed all ports and airports on the island in an effort to prevent the bombers from escaping.

The Mallorca attack came just one day after a pre-dawn bomb targeted the family quarters of Civil Guard officers in the northern Spanish city of Burgos, injuring 66 people, including sleeping children. The force of the explosion left a deep crater outside the barracks and blew off much of the façade of the 14-story building. The government said ETA had been hoping to cause a massacre, but encountered problems parking the bomb-laden vehicle.

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