Basque Group ETA Warns of Attacks
Sep. 29, 2002
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MADRID, Spain (AP) _ The outlawed Basque separatist group ETA warned that the offices of Spanish political parties are now legitimate targets for its deadly attacks.
The decision, published Sunday in a Basque newspaper, came after its political wing was banned for three years by a Spanish anti-terroism judge last month.
In the statement, ETA warned citizens to stay away from offices of Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar's Popular Party, or PP, and the opposition Socialist Party, whose initials are PSOE.
``As of this moment, the offices of the fascist PP and PSOE parties are military objectives of Euskadi Ta Askatasuna,'' said the ETA statement, which appeared in Gara, a pro-independence daily.
ETA, whose name means Basque Homeland and Freedom, has killed 837 people since starting a violent campaign for Basque independence in the late 1960s, according to Spanish authorities. It is classified as a terrorist organization by Spain, the European Union and the United States.
Although many of ETA's previous victims have been PP and PSOE members, the statement suggested that regional and national offices could be hit in a retaliation for the parties' recent efforts to ban the Basque region's minority Batasuna party.
Although the ban, on grounds of Batasuna's alleged support for terrorism, is still being considered by the Supreme Court, the party's activities have been suspended for three years. Batasuna has seven seats in the Basque self-rule assembly and hundreds of members in town councils in the northern region.
Jaime Mayor Oreja, Basque assembly spokesman for the Popular Party, said the statement demonstrated ETA's ``cruel, totalitarian, Nazi nature.''
ETA also claimed responsibility for the death last Tuesday of policeman Juan Carlos Beiro. Beiro was killed and four other policemen were injured when they sought to take down a sign near the northern city of Pamplona bearing ETA's logo.
The statement added that Hodei Galarraga and Egoitz Gurrutxaga, who blew themselves up Monday night while apparently preparing a bomb attack, were ETA members.