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2 officers hurt in blast in Spain's Basque area

August 25, 2007|From the Associated Press

MADRID — A van packed with explosives blew up Friday outside a police station in the Basque country, shattering windows, destroying cars and injuring two officers in the first serious attack by Basque separatists since they called off a ease-fire in June.

Authorities blamed the Basque separatist group ETA for the predawn blast targeting a Civil Guard station in Durango, just south of Bilbao, the region's main city.

The police station also includes living quarters for 30 officers and their families, "which makes the attack all the more despicable," said Paulino Luesma, the Interior Ministry's representative in the Basque region.

ETA usually phones in warnings before it attacks, but there was no such warning before Friday's blast.

About an hour after the attack, another car exploded in the nearby town of Amorebieta. Officials said the second blast was apparently intended to destroy evidence in the bomber's getaway car, and no one was hurt.

ETA had called a "permanent" cease-fire in March 2006, but peace talks floundered as it decried a lack of government concessions. It set off a huge bomb in a parking garage at Madrid's airport Dec. 30, killing two people, but had insisted until June that the truce was in effect. Officials say they have thwarted at least four attacks since then.

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