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Politician Killed in Basque Region

July 29, 2000

MADRID, Spain (AP) _ Two assailants shot and killed a Socialist politician in the Basque region Saturday _ the latest assassination blamed by police on the separatist ETA group.

Police said Juan Maria Jauregui, a former representative of the Interior Ministry in northern Guipuzcoa Province, was shot several times in the head inside a bar in the town of Tolosa, 290 miles north of Madrid. They said he was rushed to a hospital, where he died several hours after the shooting.

The state-run Efe news agency said witnesses saw two men, each between 30 and 35 years old and wearing dark glasses, running from the bar after the shooting. Later, a car that may have been the getaway vehicle exploded and burned in a nearby town.

Although no one immediately claimed responsibility, police and local news media blamed ETA, the armed Basque separatist group. Jauregui, who was married and had a 19-year-old daughter, served as the Interior Ministry’s representative from 1993-1996. The ministry directs national security forces.

It was the second fatal shooting in two weeks blamed on ETA in what is seen as an escalation of the group’s 32-year-old violent campaign for Basque independence. On July 15, Jose Maria Martin Carpena, a town councilor in the southern city of Malaga, was shot as he waited with his wife and daughter to pick him up.

Also Saturday, national police chief Juan Cotino said two suspected ETA members who were arrested Friday had been preparing an assassination attempt against Mayor Jose Atares of the northeastern city of Zaragoza. The mayor is a member of Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar’s governing party.

Cotino said an explosive device and other evidence was found in the house where the two were arrested.

ETA has killed nearly 800 people since 1968.

Update hourly