ETA has admitted carrying out the deadly bombing at Madrid airport late last month, but says its “permanent ceasefire” declaration still stands. In a statement to Gara newspaper, the militant Basque separatist group blames the government for what it calls “the current serious situation” and insists its intention was not to kill anyone. Two Ecuadorian men died in the blast which ripped through the airport car park on December 30, the first time ETA had killed anybody since May 2003.
Earlier on Tuesday, police in southern France arrested two suspected ETA members, the first since the airport bombing, but it is not clear if they are linked with the attack. However they are believed to be connected to the recent discovery in the Basque country of stashes of ready-to-use explosives.
Meanwhile, a tribute has been paid to the two victims by Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, who has been meeting members of the Ecuadorian community, Spain’s largest immigrant population. The Spanish government has called off the peace process, but Zapatero says he still hopes to bring about a negotiated settlement. He is due to address parliament on Monday.