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Spanish politician shot dead

ETA
ETA attacks in Spain have prompted street protests  

BARCELONA, Spain (Reuters) -- Spain's former Health Minister Ernest Lluch was shot dead in Barcelona on Tuesday night in an attack immediately blamed on the Basque separatist group ETA, politicians and state radio said.

Lluch, 63, who served in the Socialist government of former Prime Minister Felipe Gonzalez, was shot twice in the head at a car park, state radio reported.

Lluch is the most senior former politician killed in an alleged ETA attack this year. Socialist party leaders immediately pinned the assassination on ETA.

The shooting was reported about two hours after a car bomb exploded nearby on the outskirts of Barcelona. The shooting may have taken place before the explosion and the body was not immediately discovered, state radio said.

The car may have been used by the assailants in the attack and could have been blown up to destroy evidence, the radio said. No one was injured in the explosion, which took place in an undeveloped area just outside the city.

ETA has claimed responsibility for 20 other killings in a series of bombings and shootings this year in its drive for an independent state in northern Spain and southwestern France.

ETA was suspected of firing grenades at a Spanish Civil Guard police barracks in the Basque region on Tuesday, slightly injuring one police officer.

Copyright 2000 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.



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