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Attack in Basque Region Injures 11

November 11, 2000

SAN SEBASTIAN, Spain (AP) _ A hidden bomb exploded as police tried to defuse grenades in launching tubes found outside a police station in this Basque city, injuring nine police officers and two bystanders Saturday. Officials described the attack as a trap by Basque separatists.

An Interior Ministry spokesman said police were trying to defuse the grenades when an explosive device planted inside one of the launching tubes went off. The separatist group ETA has been accused of using rudimentary tubes to hurl grenades in previous attacks, some on police stations.

The launchers were to lure police into the trap near the Civil Guard station, said the spokesman, who spoke on customary condition of anonymity.

Five of the injured officers were released after brief treatment in hospital.

Police and Basque politicians immediately blamed members of ETA, the Basque separatist group, for the attack. Inaki Anasagasti, spokesman for the ruling Basque Nationalist Party, called the attack ``one more sample of the barbarity of ETA.″

``They don’t care whether it’s journalists, Civil Guards, Basque police, bus drivers or citizens,″ he told state news agency Efe. ``The important thing for them is destruction, and that gets them nowhere.″

The attack comes a day after two journalists survived an apparent assassination attempt in the same city _ a bomb meant to be triggered by the opening of their door failed to go off as the couple left their apartment Friday.

ETA has killed about 800 people in its 32-year drive for an independent Basque homeland. It called off a 14-month cease-fire in December, and it has since bombed or shot journalists, politicians, military personnel, police and judges. The group has claimed or been blamed for 20 killings since January.

The last fatal attack attributed to ETA was an Oct. 30 car bombing in Madrid that killed a Supreme Court judge, his bodyguard, their driver and a bus driver.

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