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Security Tightens, Tourists Stay Put After ETA Bombs

July 22, 1996

MADRID, Spain (AP) _ Police stepped up patrols today at a Spanish resort area, warning tourists to be alert for odd-looking packages after a weekend bombing campaign by Basque separatists.

Nine people remained hospitalized after a bomb Saturday injured 35 at Tarragona airport, the main gateway for more than a million tourists who visit the Mediterranean resorts on Costa Dorada, south of Barcelona.

``These terrorist acts _ it’s sad to say, we’ve gotten used to them,″ said Maria Dolores Oliva, a tourism official in Salou, a prime destination for British vacationers.

Oliva said Salou’s outdoor market, held Mondays, was jammed with visitors as usual, and tour bus operators told her there were no cancellations.

On Sunday, police deactivated a bomb after evacuating 500 people from Salou’s Hotel Delfin Park, where a suspicious package was found.

More police were added to street and beach patrols today, she said.

Police also were inspecting area hotels after two bombs exploded Saturday night at other Costa Dorada hotels. People had been evacuated from both and there were no injuries.

Police said the Basque separatist group ETA had placed calls to news media taking responsibility for the bombs.

ETA, which is seeking independence for seven Basque provinces in Spain and France, has regularly targeted Spain’s tourism industry, the country’s largest foreign exchange earner.

More than 780 people have been killed in ETA’s 28-year fight for independence. The attacks against the tourist industry have occurred outside the Basque region.

Update hourly