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ETA blamed for grenade attack

ETA's campaign for a Basque state has claimed 800 lives since 1968
ETA's campaign for a Basque state has claimed 800 lives since 1968

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SPECIAL REPORT

BILBAO, Spain -- Grenades have been thrown against a police barracks in northern Spain in what officials believe was an attack by the Basque separatist group ETA.

No one was injured in the attack that came on a day of military parades and celebrations amid a government crackdown on ETA's political supporters.

"We are assuming the perpetrators were connected to ETA," a government official in the northern province of Navarre told Reuters.

Guardia Civil police officials said two grenades had been thrown. One had exploded and experts were trying to deactivate the second.

All the windows on the building's facade had shattered, an official at the barracks said.

ETA has killed more than 800 people since 1968 in its drive for an independent Basque homeland carved out of northern Spain and southwestern France.

The attack in the town of Urdax, a few kilometres from the French border, came as the Guardia Civil, a semi-military police force, prepared to celebrate the day of its patron virgin and Spain's armed forces prepared for national day parades in Madrid.

Spain recently launched a political and judicial crackdown on ETA's political supporters. Parliament has voted to ban the Batasuna party, which Spain says is an integral part of ETA, and a judge has suspended the party's political activities for at least three years.

Last month a booby trap bomb blamed on ETA killed one civil guard and wounded four others in Navarre, a province claimed by Basque nationalists as part of a greater homeland.

The Guardia Civil, the target of the last two fatal attacks blamed on ETA, was used by former dictator General Franco to repress Basque nationalism during his rule from 1939 to 1975.



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