Basque Separatism? Car Bomb in Spain Injures 17

After a car bomb in a university lot in Navarra injured 17 people on Thursday, no one has come forward to take responsibility for the attack. But officials are blaming Basque terror organization ETA, saying the group has "once again displayed its vileness."

A car bomb wounded 17 people in a university parking lot in the Spanish city of Pamplona Thursday. No one has claimed responsibility for the attack, but officials are pointing the finger at militant Basque group ETA.

"ETA has once again displayed its vileness," said Jose Antonio Alonso, spokesman for the governing Socialist party at a news conference.

The blast at Navarra University set a building and a number of vehicles on fire. Pamplona is the capital of the region of Navarra in northern Spain.

Shards of glass blew out windows and caused most of the injuries, according to Interior Minister Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba. He added that a man claiming to speak for ETA made a phone call before the explosion to authorities in the nearby city of Vitoria-Gasteiz. The bomb was in a white Peugot, the man warned, and would go off "at the university campus."

Police, however, thought he meant a university in Vitoria-Gasteiz. They searched there and found nothing, according to Rubalcaba. An hour later, the bomb went off in Pamplona without warning.

The attack followed the arrest of three suspected members of ETA in Pamplona and another in Valencia Tuesday. Rubalcaba declined to comment on whether the explosion may have been related to the arrests.

Navarra University has been targeted for similar attacks six times. Since ending a ceasefire in December 2006, ETA has been blamed for seven deaths in Spain, including three this year.

Navarra lies outside the autonomous Basque Country region, but some Basque nationalists argue it should be part of an independent Basque homeland, which would encompass parts of northern Spain and southwest France.

rbn -- with wire reports


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