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Rockets, Car Bomb Hurt 9 at Spain's Defense Ministry

July 22, 1986|Associated Press

MADRID — Twelve anti-tank rockets were fired at the Spanish Defense Ministry on Monday from a bomb-rigged car that exploded 15 minutes later. Police reported nine people hurt and blamed the attack on Basque guerrillas.

A ministry statement said six rockets hit the building at midmorning, one landing in the office of the deputy personnel director, Vice Adm. Carlos Vila Miranda, wounding him slightly. Defense Minister Narcis Serra was in his fourth-floor office but was not hurt, the statement said.

It was the second attack in Madrid in a week. The Basque separatist organization ETA claimed responsibility for a July 14 car bombing that killed 10 young paramilitary civil guards riding in a bus through the same fashionable residential neighborhood in which Monday's attack occurred.

26 Killings This Year

ETA has claimed responsibility for attacks this year in which 26 people have been killed, and four of its members have been slain in shootouts with police. The separatists have been fighting for years for an independent nation in three Basque-dominated provinces of northern Spain.

ETA--whose initials stand for Basque Homeland and Freedom in the Basque language--has concentrated its attacks on civil guards, other policemen and military targets in Madrid and in the Basque country. Since 1968, ETA has claimed responsibility for the deaths of nearly 600 civil guardsmen, other police and military officers.

In another European bombing Monday, a car bomb exploded early in the day outside the offices of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in Paris, breaking windows but injuring no one, police reported.

Mocking Government

The French terrorist group Direct Action claimed responsibility, and the attack apparently was an attempt by political extremists to mock the government's pledge to end a rash of guerrilla attacks. Monday's was the fourth bombing in Paris for which Direct Action claimed responsibility this month, including one that killed an inspector at a police office.

In Madrid, Spanish government spokesman Manuel Moles said the 12 rockets were fired from a sedan double-parked about 450 feet from the the ministry across the Paseo de la Castellana, one of the city's main thoroughfares.

He said four rockets hit parked cars, one hit a wall and ricocheted into a bus and one failed to explode.

Moles said the car bomb was detonated by remote control 15 minutes after the rockets were fired, and eight people were wounded by flying debris, including a policeman.

'Part of a Cancer'

Mayor Juan Barranco called the attacks "part of a cancer, a gangrene that affects the entire social body, and particularly Madrid."

Some officials linked Monday's attack in Madrid to France's expulsion Saturday of Jose Manuel Varona Lopez, an alleged member of ETA's Spain Commando, which operates in the capital.

His expulsion marked the first time that France has handed over a Basque exile to Spanish police without a warrant from Interpol, the international police agency. The Basque country extends across the border into southern France.

Hundreds of demonstrators in the northern Basque city of San Sebastian set fire to an army jeep Sunday night outside the military governor's headquarters to protest the French surrender of Verona Lopez.

France has expelled 37 suspected members of ETA since 1984.

Many Basques acquired political refugee status in France during the waning years of the Francisco Franco dictatorship in Spain.

Two years after Franco's death in 1975, Spain offered a general amnesty to ETA members not suspected of "blood crimes," but several hundred Spanish Basques chose to remain in France.

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