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Suspected Basque Gunman Held in Assassination Bid

November 25, 2000|From Associated Press

MADRID — Police thwarted an assassination attempt by the Basque separatist group ETA in Pamplona on Friday, arresting a gunman who was about to attack a former town councilor, officials said.

State radio reported that the target was Miguel Angel Ruiz de Langarica, 61, a former Pamplona councilor for a center-right party that opposes Basque independence.

News agencies Efe and Europa Press, quoting government officials, identified the detainee as 26-year-old Inaki Beaumont Echevarria and said a second suspect managed to escape. Interior Ministry officials declined to give details of the arrest, but the news reports said Echevarria had served jail time for pro-independence street violence and was under police surveillance.

Also Friday, a small bomb exploded in the doorway of the apartment of Benedicto Barrios Casadon, a ruling Popular Party city councilor in the Basque regional capital of Vitoria. No one was injured in the blast.

The arrest and explosion came a day after nearly a million people marched through Barcelona to protest Tuesday's slaying of former Spanish Health Minister Ernest Lluch. It was the 21st killing this year blamed on ETA, short for Basque Homeland and Freedom.

A respected academic, Lluch was a critic of ETA but favored a negotiated solution to the Basque conflict.

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