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Body found at Madrid blast site

January 04, 2007|From the Associated Press

MADRID — Rescue workers discovered a body Wednesday in the rubble of a parking garage destroyed by a car bombing at Madrid's airport, confirming the first fatality blamed on the Basque separatist group ETA in more than three years.

Carlos Alonso Palate, 35, of Ecuador was believed to have been sleeping in a car when the bomb exploded Saturday, police said. A second Ecuadorean, Diego Armando Estacio, 19, who was at the airport separately and also sleeping in a parked car, remains missing in the mounds of concrete and metal rubble. Twenty-six people were also injured.

Though ETA has not claimed responsibility, a caller who warned authorities before the explosion said he represented the group. The government has accused ETA of the blast.

Even a senior member of the group's outlawed political wing, Batasuna, demanded Wednesday that ETA explain the reason behind the attack.

The government called off plans for peace talks with the separatists after the bombing, which shattered a 9-month-old cease-fire.

Batasuna insisted that the peace process was not dead despite the bombing because ETA, whose initials stand for Basque Homeland and Freedom, has not formally declared it was ending the truce. But Spanish Interior Minister Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba said the process was "broken, over, liquidated."

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