Two Police Die as ETA Bomb Blows Up Patrol Vehicle

The Birmingham Post (England), August 21, 2000 | Go to article overview

Two Police Die as ETA Bomb Blows Up Patrol Vehicle


A bomb killed two Civil Guard police officers in northern Spain on yesterday, the latest in a surge in killings blamed on Basque separatist group ETA that has plunged the country into a security crisis.

A 32-year-old female officer was killed instantly when the bomb ripped through her patrol jeep in the town of Sallent de Gallego in Huesca province, close to the French border in the Pyrenees mountains, a government spokesman said.

She was the first woman Civil Guard officer ever killed in ETA-linked violence, state radio said. Her 22-year-old male colleague died from his injuries in hospital.

Television showed the remains of the jeep turned into a twisted pile of metal by the bomb which police believe was stuck to the vehicle's underside.

King Juan Carlos condemned the "brutal and cowardly murder". Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar was due to break his summer holiday on the beach to attend the funeral of the two Civil Guard officers in Huesca cathedral on Monday.

Anti-ETA protests were called for Monday across Spain, the sombre, ritual reaction of ordinary Spaniards to the killings.

Huesca, which is not in the Basque region, is believed to be a point of entry into Spain for ETA fighters. Police last week blew up a car carrying explosives in the province.

Interior Minister Jaime Mayor Oreja said whoever stuck Sunday's bomb to the jeep probably fled to France, only eight miles away.

Eyewitnesses told local media a man drove away from the small mountain town moments after the bomb went off.

Mayor Oreja said ETA was trying to turn public opinion against the government's hardline stance towards the separatists. The government has ruled out talks with the group until ETA gives up fighting.

"These moments are very hard," he told reporters. "The only way to end terrorism is to be resolute in the use of the state of law, in confidence in the security forces and in the courts."

ETA has now claimed or been blamed for 11 assassinations since it ended a truce last December. The six people killed since mid-July include a city councillor, a Basque politician, a businessman and an army officer. …

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