Eta bomb targets Ferrovial's Madrid office

09 February 2009

A car bomb planted by the Basque separatist organisation has exploded outside the Madrid offices of Ferrovial, the owners of BAA (British Airports Authority).

A Peugeot Partner blew up outside a convention centre in the city's Campo de la Naciones district at about 9 am this morning. No one was injured.

An unidentified caller claiming to be from Eta had telephoned a warning to the offices of the Red Cross at about 7.37 am.

Local news agencies quoted the caller as saying, "The caller said: "I call in the name of Eta. We have planted a car bomb in the Calle Ribera del Loira, next to the Ferrovial-Agroman building, which will blow up at 9am."

The city authorities were able to evacuate the area. The blast caused broken windows in nearby offices and traffic hold-ups.

It is believed Eta targeted the Spanish infrastructure group, which owns Heathrow, Gatwick and a series of other British airports within the BAA group, because it is involved in building part of a high-speed train link through the Basque Country, linking Spain and France.

Eta has said it sees the link as an imposition on the region by the Spanish and French governments.

In December last year, Eta shot dead businessman Ignacio Uría, 70, one of the owners of construction company Altuna y Uria, which is building a stretch of the high-speed train AVE, as he left a restaurant in Azpeitia, near San Sebastian, in the Basque Country.

He had been threatened a number of times by the terrorist group.

Eta has labelled the high-speed train link connecting the Basque cities of Vitoria, San Sebastian and Bilbao to the Spanish capital Madrid, "anti-social, anti-ecological, wasteful of resources and inappropriate."

Eta has claimed responsibility for killing over 800 people in 40 years of struggle for the independence of ancient Basque territories in France and Spain. Polls show only a minority of support for them in Spain's Basque Country region, which already enjoys a considerable degree of autonomy.

The Eta attack came hours after the Spanish Supreme Court had banned two separatist political parties, Askatasuna and Democracia 3 Millones (Democracy Three Million), from standing in Basque regional elections on March 1. The court ruled that both were fronts for Eta, itself an illegal organisation.

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