November 2, 2005

Bomb explodes in Spain’s Basque country, one defused

MADRID (Reuters) - A bomb exploded in Spain's Basque
country early on Thursday, causing no injuries, and a second
bomb was defused, Basque police said.

Police suspect armed Basque separatist group ETA of
planting the bombs, a police spokesman said.

One bomb, placed in a waste paper basket near an employment
office in the Basque seaside town of Zarautz, exploded at about
1:30 a.m. (0030 GMT), he said.

Another bomb, near a court in Zarautz, had been defused by
the police bomb squad about two hours earlier, he said.

Bombs exploded near magistrates courts in four Spanish
towns on October 25 in attacks also blamed on ETA. Last week's
explosions damaged buildings but no one was injured.

ETA, classed as a terrorist organization by Spain, the
European Union and the United States, has killed nearly 850
people since 1968 in its campaign for an independent Basque
state carved out of northern Spain and southwestern France.

Hopes of an end to the Basque conflict have been raised
since May when the Spanish parliament backed a government
proposal to talk to ETA if it laid down its arms.

ETA responded in June by calling for a peace process but it
has not made any concession on violence and has continued
sporadic bombings.

Police in France and Spain have arrested dozens of ETA
suspects in the last year, including many senior leaders.

ETA has carried out about 20 minor attacks this year, but
has not killed anyone since May 2003.