Bombing in Basque Country Kills Two Policemen
VITORIA, Spain (AP) _ A bomb believed to have been set by Basque terrorists exloded and killed two national police officers, a government official said.
Julio Campuzano, press spokesman for the Vitoria Civil Governor’s office, said a powerful bomb hidden in a garbage can and set off by remote control exploded around 4:00 p.m. Thursday, just as the second of two police cars passed along a street in Vitoria, the capital of the three-province northern Basque region.
The bomb destroyed the police car. Campuzano said the two police officers died of injuries on the way to hospital.
The first police car was not damaged, he said.
The victims were identified as Rafael Mifuentes Sanz, 49, and Antonio Ligero Gehz, 53.
No group claimed immediate responsibility for the attack, but police suspected the Basque separatist group ETA.
ETA, which means Homeland and Liberty in the Basque language, seeks independence from Spain for the Basque country.
So far this year, ETA has claimed responsibility for killing 31 people. Most of the dead were 21 civilians killed June 19 in a bombing at a Barcelona market.
Thursday’s explosion occurred hours after France expelled the 74th alleged member of ETA from the southern French Basque country since approving emergency measures last July designed to rid the country of suspected terrorists.
Since taking up arms in 1968, ETA has claimed responsibility for killing nearly 600 people, mainly national police, military and Civil Guard officers.