Bomb Explodes in Spain; One Injured
MADRID, Spain (AP) - A bomb exploded outside the offices of a right-wing political party in northern Spain on Wednesday, slightly injuring one person and shattering windows, the Interior Ministry said. A man claiming to speak for the Basque separatist group ETA claimed responsibility in a warning call shortly before the explosion.

The device detonated at 8 a.m. (2 a.m. EST) in the seaside town of Santona, outside the offices of the Falange party, the remnants of longtime Spanish dictator Gen. Francisco Franco's political apparatus.

Less than an hour earlier, emergency services had received the warning call from a man speaking in Basque, ministry official Agustin Ibanez said. It was impossible to independently verify the man's link to ETA, but the style of the bombing was in keeping with a series of recent attacks by the armed separatist group. The blast would be the seventh carried out by ETA in just over two weeks.

Police found a bag with a sign reading "Danger bomb" in the doorway outside the Falange offices and cordoned off the area before the device exploded. The bomb had contained between 7-11 pounds of explosives, said Puerto Gallego, Mayor of Santona. "Today is a bad day for Santona," said Gallego. The offices, situated within the old quarter of the historic fishing town, suffered considerable damage, with window panes shattered and glass strewn over a large area, Ibanez said. One person received a slight cut to an eyebrow from the flying glass, Ibanez said.

Two smaller homemade devices exploded outside banks just before midnight in the Basque port of Plentzia, 30 kilometers (19 miles) north of Bilbao, causing some damage, the ministry said.

On Saturday several hundred supporters of ETA clashed violently with riot police in the northern town of Portugalete following the death in prison of two of its members. Following the clashes in Portugalete, Basque separatist leader Joseba Permach said that the suppression of a pro-ETA demonstration would "have repercussions."

ETA, which has for years relied on extortion as a fundraising tool, has upped the menacing tone of its threats by sending business leaders letters with photos of their families and documents detailing their daily routines and car license plates. An explosion targeting a political organization instead of business changes the direction of ETA's recent violent activities. Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero offered to negotiate with ETA in May 2005 if it renounced violence, but the militant group has kept up a campaign of low-level violence, setting off dozens of explosions.
Posted by: Steve 2006-03-08