- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 30, 2009

BURGOS, Spain | A powerful car bomb destroyed a police barracks housing officers and their families in northern Spain on Wednesday, injuring about 60 people and causing major damage in the surrounding area. The attack was blamed on the Basque separatist group ETA.

ETA did not phone in a warning as it typically does before most attacks, so authorities had no time to evacuate the 14-story building in Burgos, police said. There were around 120 people in the barrackss and surrounding buildings, a third of them children, when the explosion went off at 4 a.m.

Most of the injuries were from flying glass, and 38 of the wounded were treated in a hospital, the Interior Ministry said.

Officials expressed surprise no one was killed in the blast, which blew off much of the barracks’s facade. Nearby residential dwellings had their windows and some walls blown in by the force of the explosion.

The bomb left a crater that filled with water from broken underground pipes and hurled the van that carried it about 230 feet away.

Members of Spain’s paramilitary Civil Guard police force often live in a barracks with their spouses and children. The force is chiefly in charge of policing rural areas and guarding official buildings.

ETA has killed more than 825 people since it launched a campaign in 1968 for an independent homeland in the Basque region of northern Spain.

Burgos, a regional capital, contains a historic city center and major tourist attractions in a province bordering the Basque region.

It was ETA’s eighth attack this year, further proof the militant group is still an active force despite major police crackdowns in Spain and France. Spain’s government claims after each ETA arrest, including those of many leaders, that the group has been decapitated, but the attacks have continued.

Spain has vowed to crush the separatist group since ETA ended what it had said was a permanent cease-fire with a massive bombing at Madrid airport in 2006.

The last attack blamed on the group was July 10, when a bomb exploded outside an office of the Spanish prime minister’s party in the Basque town of Durango, causing significant damage but no injuries.

ETA is a Basque-language acronym for Basque Homeland and Freedom.

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