The Basque separatist group ETA claimed responsibility Sunday for a series of attacks in Spain in June and July, including ones that killed two Civil Guard agents and a police officer.
In a statement released to the Basque newspaper Gara, ETA said the attacks were in retaliation to a government initiative to aggressively go after the group. “When Spain responds with weapons, we will answer with weapons,” the statement said. “The only thing that has been proven to be frustrated and sterile over the last few weeks, as in the last few years, is the campaign of repression and the attempts by the police,” the statement added. Two Civil Guard agents were killed on July 30 in an explosion outside barracks on the Mediterranean island of Mallorca, which is popular with tourists. The bomb, hidden under a parked car, was detonated remotely as the two agents drove past in a patrol car, officials said.
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On June 19, a car bomb exploded in an open-air parking lot in the Basque town of Arrigorriaga, about 30 miles south of the largest Basque town of Bilbao. The blast killed Spanish police officer Eduardo Puelles, a senior figure in the fight against ETA. The group, in its statement, called Puelles a “torturer.” “He was also the one responsible for pressuring young independence activist militants on the street for their collaboration by means of threats,” the statement said.
ETA is blamed for more than 800 deaths in its 40-year campaign for independence for the two million people that make up the region in the north of Spain. The European Union and the United States list it as a terrorist group.