Two bombs blamed on Basque separatists explode on Spain's Mallorca; no injuries - Metro US

Two bombs blamed on Basque separatists explode on Spain’s Mallorca; no injuries

MADRID – Two small bombs blamed on Basque separatist group ETA exploded Sunday in downtown locations on the Spanish resort island of Mallorca, causing no injuries, the government said. Police defused a third device found nearby.

The blasts occurred just over a week after ETA killed two police officers in Mallorca in attacks aimed at striking fear among tourists at the height of the summer holiday season.

One bomb exploded in La Rigoleta restaurant on the Can Pere Antoni beachfront in Palma de Mallorca and the second in an underground passage at the central Plaza Mayor square, the government said. Officers deactivated a bomb left at Bar Enco.

Police searched a hotel on the Mediterranean island’s popular beach-front capital, Palma de Mallorca, for a possible fourth bomb, the government said.

Earlier Sunday, ETA claimed responsibility for four other bombings this summer that killed three people – including the two police officers killed in Mallorca on July 30 – and injured dozens more.

Spain’s state-run broadcaster TVE said on its late afternoon news bulletin that one bomb that exploded was in a beach bag hidden in the ceiling of a women’s bathroom in the restaurant.

The restaurant had been evacuated following two phone calls made to a taxi company in mainland Spain’s northern Basque region, El Pais newspaper said. The caller, who said he was calling on ETA’s behalf, warned of the bombs.

Mallorca is one of Europe’s main tourist destinations. In June, about 2.6 million passengers used Mallorca airport while more than 22 million passed through it last year.

In past years, ETA has often targeted Spain’s tourist industry with small bombs during peak summer vacation months in an effort to disrupt trade and force the government to negotiate with them.

Spain has vowed to crush ETA since the group ended what it had said was a permanent cease-fire with a bombing that destroyed a Madrid airport parking garage and killed two people in 2006.

In a statement published Sunday in Basque newspaper Gara, one of ETA’s usual mouthpieces, the group claimed responsibility for attacks that left three people dead and 60 injured in June and July. The attacks coincided with ETA’s 50th anniversary.

In a July 29 attack, ETA said they detonated 300 kilograms (660 pounds) of explosives packed into a van parked near a Civil Guard barracks in the northern city of Burgos, injuring 60 people including children.

The group said the attack proved police action against its members was “frustrated and sterile,” noting in its published statement that “despite the vehicle being sought by police, it was parked for half a day outside the largest Civil Guard barracks adjacent to Basque lands.”

It also claimed a July 10 bomb attack on Socialist party offices in Durango, in which no one was hurt, and said it planted the car bomb that killed anti-terrorism officer Eduardo Antonio Puelles on June 19.

ETA also claimed the July 30 bomb attached to the underside of a patrol vehicle that killed the two police officers in Palma de Mallorca.

On Saturday, the Basque regional government and Spain’s National Court banned all pro-separatist marches scheduled in the northern seaside resort of San Sebastian, which is celebrating an annual festival.

Police clashed with demonstrators late Saturday, and two alleged separatists were detained.

ETA has killed more than 825 people since 1968 when it started a violent campaign for an independent Basque state.

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