Car bomb rocks Barcelona, one death reported
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) _ A car bomb exploded in front of a police barracks in downtown Barcelona Tuesday night, killing one policeman and wounding two others and 15 civilians, the governor’s office reported.
Police Chief Augustin Linares blamed the Basque separatist group ETA for the bombing. ETA, which stands for Basque Homeland and Liberty in the Basque language, has claimed responsibility for bombings and gunfire attacks that have killed 37 people this year, including 12 policemen who died in a July 14 car-bomb blast in Madrid.
The governor’s office said that a car packed with explosives and parked about 12-15 feet from the entrance to the Belchite police barracks on Plaza de Espana blew up at 10:15 p.m.
A Barcelona radio station, Antenna 13, said the car used in the attack had been stolen and was parked near the police barracks for several hours.
Police reported most of the injured civilians were wounded as they emerged from a subway station on the square, and there were about 500 people in the immdediate vicinity.
The policeman killed was on duty at the entrance of the barracks on Cruz Cubierta Street. He was identified as Angel Gonzalez.
It was the second explosion Tuesday in Barcelona, Spain’s second-largest city and main Mediterranean port.
Earlier in the day a small bomb exploded in the doorway of a downtown branch of the Banco Urquijo Union, shattering windows and slighly damaging the bank’s facade but inflicting no casualties.
A Catalonian separatist Terra Lliure - Free Land in the Catalan language - asserted responsibility for that attack.
Linares said police have suspected there is a connection between ETA and Terra Lliure since the explosion of a car bomb Sept. 13 in Barcelona that injured a policeman and a passerby.
″Terra Lliure doesn’t have the capacity, the infrastructure or the means necessary to carry out an action like this, although they may have collaborated in it,″ he said of Tuesday’s attacks.
ETA seeks independence for the three predominantly Basque provinces in northern Spain and Terra Lliure is demanding independence for the Catalonia region in the northeast that includes Barcelona.
Barcelona is considered a leading contender for the 1992 Summer Olympics, and Tuesday’s bomb explosions came three days before the International Olympic Committee is to decide on the site for the games.
Neither ETA nor Terra Lliure has expressed opposition to Barcelona’s holding the games, but in the past ETA guerrillas have waged small bombing campaigns along Spain’s beaches to frighten away tourists and damage the country’s economy.