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ETA blamed for executive's murder

Santiago Oleaga
Santiago Oleaga was killed in a suspected ETA shooting  

SAN SEBASTIAN, Spain -- A newspaper executive has been killed in the northern Spanish city of San Sebastian in a killing blamed on Basque separatist group ETA.

Santiago Oleaga Elejabarrieta, 54, was shot in the head and died almost instantly in a car park at a city hospital where he had gone for physiotherapy for his injured shoulder.

Oleaga was the chief financial officer of the leading regional newspaper El Diario Vasco (The Basque Daily).

The paper is owned by Grupo Correo, a major Spanish news conglomerate based in the Basque country, which for decades has been outspoken in its condemnation of ETA.

The shooting occurred around 8:30 a.m. (06:30 GMT), as Oleaga was parking his car in the El Antiguo district, on the outskirts of San Sebastian.

graphic Basque conflict: Violence in Spain

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El Diario Vasco's San Sebastian headquarters has been a frequent target of ETA supporters. A bomb blew up last year at the front door, causing damage but no injuries.

Spanish state radio, quoted by The Associated Press, said one or more assailants approached Oleaga in a car park and shot him two or three times in the head.

A spokesman for the regional police told Reuters: "This is certainly the work of ETA."

Shortly after the shooting, a car bomb exploded in another part of the city. No-one was hurt, according to news agencies.

Police believe the car could have been used as a getaway vehicle by the gunmen, and the purpose of the explosion was to destroy fingerprints and other evidence.

Reacting to the shooting, the Spanish government said ETA was ignoring the results of May 13 elections to the 75-seat Basque regional parliament, where the party seen as ETA's political wing -- Euskal Herritarrok -- lost half its seats.

Labour Minister Juan Carlos Apariciouo told reporters: "I think it is obvious that there are those who simply do not want to recognise the results of the elections."

It is the first killing blamed on the Basque separatist group ETA since elections 10 days ago dealt a severe blow to its political wing, and the eighth this year.

Some 800 people have been killed by ETA over the last 30 years in its campaign for an independent Basque state.

It typically targets local politicians, members of the security forces and, recently, journalists, usually with bombs or gunshots to the back of the head.

On Wednesday police detonated a car bomb near Bilbao, which also appeared to be the work of ETA, after the car's owner spotted a suspect device.

Many Basques support independence or greater home rule from Spain, but ETA is widely condemned for its violence.

• The Basque Country
• Spanish Interior Ministry
• Association for Peace in the Basque Country
• History of the Basque Country

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