Grenades Found as Spanish, German Heads Visit Spain Basque Separatists Behind It, Police Say

Article excerpt

HERNANI, Spain -- Police with helicopters and sniffer dogs uncovered eight grenades in woods near a Basque town just hours before a visit by King Juan Carlos, Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder.

Authorities said the grenades were planted by the armed Basque separatist group ETA -- whose political allies warned last week that although Schroeder was welcome in Hernani, the king and prime minister were not.

The grenades were found in rudimentary launching tubes in a pit about 600 yards from the open-air museum of sculptor Eduardo Chillida, which was inaugurated by the king and later visited by Aznar, Schroeder and more than a dozen other Spanish politicians.

"The grenades had a launching mechanism, but it was so sloppily put together they would have not gone further than a few" yards, said a spokeswoman for the Basque regional Ertzaintza police force.

The event went ahead as scheduled.

The grenades were found only a half-hour before the king's arrival, despite a week of intensive police searches of the hills and woods around the museum to prevent any attacks.

ETA has admitted to about 800 killings since it began fighting for independence of northern Spain's Basque region in 1968. …


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