Spanish police have launched a manhunt for suspected ETA bombers who abandoned a car loaded with explosives close to the Portuguese border. The discovery has fuelled fears Basque separatists are planning to target tourist resorts. 130 kilograms of bomb-making chemicals, as well as timers and detonators, were found in the Portuguese Ford Focus hire car.
Police believe it was dumped, just 2km from the border, when the occupants spotted a nearby police checkpoint. Officers found Basque documents in the car. “For the moment we are not entertaining speculation,” said Joan Mesquida, the Director-General of Spanish police. “But it could have been a lone bomber, or it could have been a delivery. But it is clear the car was not primed to explode.”
It is the first incident since ETA officially called off its 15 month-old truce with the Spanish government 2 weeks ago, and threatened renewed violence. ETA has waged summer bombing campaigns in the past, blowing up targets in resorts including Alicante and Benidorm.