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Car bomb explodes at trade fair center in Spain

MADRID - A car bomb believed planted by the armed Basque group ETA exploded at a business park on Madrid's outskirts Monday, but no one was injured, police said.

MADRID - A car bomb believed planted by the armed Basque group ETA exploded at a business park on Madrid's outskirts Monday, but no one was injured, police said.

The bomb went off shortly after 9 a.m. at the park in the Campo de Las Naciones trade fair center about 90 minutes after the Spanish Red Cross received a warning call, a police spokesman said.

The explosion blew a meter-deep hole in the ground, destroyed some 30 cars and blew out windows at nearby offices, but no one was hurt, the spokesman said.

The area had been cordoned off after the Red Cross received a call from someone claiming to speak on behalf of ETA. The caller said an explosives-laden van parked near Ferrovial construction firm's offices would explode at 9 a.m., Red Cross spokeswoman Belen Ruiz said.

If confirmed as an ETA bomb, it would mark the group's first attack in Madrid since Dec. 30, 2006, when an ETA car bomb at Madrid's airport killed two Ecuadoreans and brought an end to a nine-month cease-fire.

ETA set off a car bomb at the same Madrid trade center in February 2005, injuring 43 people.

The blast on Monday caused traffic havoc near the city's airport, and interrupted services on one subway line serving the trade fair center and airport.

Just hours earlier, the Supreme Court had banned candidates from two Basque nationalist parties from taking part in upcoming Basque regional elections because of alleged links between the two groups and ETA.

Spanish National Radio said Ferrovial was one of the companies involved in the construction of a high speed train project in the Basque region that has been targeted frequently by ETA.

Ferrovial said it had no immediate comment.

ETA, whose name is a Basque-language acronym for Basque Homeland and Freedom, has killed more than 825 people since 1968.

Recently the group claimed responsibility for the fatal shooting of a Basque businessman linked to the high speed train project and a car bomb outside a Basque television station. Both attacks were in December.

 
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