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2 Hurt By Pamplona, Spain Car Bomb

May 23, 2002

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MADRID, Spain (AP) _ A car bomb blamed on the Basque separatist group ETA exploded Thursday in the northern city of Pamplona, injuring two people and sending a huge cloud of smoke billowing over the city center, authorities said.

The Ford Escort blew up in a parking lot behind the main administration building of the University of Navarra in Pamplona, 240 miles north of Madrid, said local security services spokesman Juan Antionio Martinez.

He said two people were treated on the scene by paramedics, but their injuries did not appear to be critical. Several university buildings were damaged.

Like two recent bombings at a soccer stadium and an oil company office building in Madrid, which resulted in 17 mostly light injuries, the Pamplona blast appeared designed to minimize casualties.

Police were able to clear the area after a Basque newspaper got a call at 8:30 p.m. warning that the car bomb was set to go off half an hour later and giving the vehicle’s location and license plate number, according to Martinez.

Spanish radio reported the car carried 44 pounds of explosives and detonated at 9:03 p.m.

Interior Minister Mariano Rajoy called the explosion ``a new terrorist attack unsuited to civilized beings,″ which proved the need to outlaw political parties that support terrorism.

Car bombings are frequently carried out by the outlawed ETA, which is classified as a terrorist organization by Spain, the European Union and the United States.

ETA, whose name is a Basque-language acronym that stands for Basque Homeland and Freedom, has been fighting since the late 1960s to carve an independent state out of lands straddling northern Spain and southwest France _ including parts of Navarra province, of which Pamplona is the capital. ETA’s violent campaign has left more than 800 people dead.

A draft of the Political Parties Law _ which the government wants to use to ban Basque factions that refuse to condemn ETA’s violence _ was passed in Parliament earlier Thursday.

Update hourly