Bomb blast hits Spanish city

2009-07-29 07:30

Madrid - A car bomb exploded outside a Civil Guard barracks in the northern Spanish city of Burgos early on Wednesday, slightly injuring 46 people, an emergency services spokesperson said.

Part of the barracks facade collapsed into the street when the bomb went off around 04:30 (02:30 GMT). A spokesperson for the Civil Guard, Spain's paramilitary police force, said the attack was probably carried out by Basque separatist rebels ETA.

Most of the injuries were cuts and bruises and no one was in serious condition, although 38 had been transferred to hospital in the historic cathedral town, according to the emergency services spokesperson.

"All the windows are broken. It's very damaged so it's almost a miracle no one was hurt more seriously," he said, adding that the barracks had been evacuated and firefighters were going through the building.

ETA is held responsible for killing more than 800 people in the past 40 years in a campaign to carve out an independent Basque homeland in northern Spain and southern France. It typically uses shootings and car bombs, often parked outside police and army barracks.

The most recent killing blamed on the group was on June 19, when a police inspector died in a booby-trapped car in the northern city of Bilbao.

The organisation is under pressure to show it can still mount attacks despite having been weakened by a series of arrests including that of its suspected top commander, Jurdan Martitegi, in April. His capture brought to four the number of commanders caught in less than a year.

Eighteen more alleged ETA members were captured in a three-week period in June and July.

Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero's Socialist government broke off peace talks with ETA after the rebels killed two people with a car bomb at Madrid airport in December 2006.

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