Basque terrorists ETA have struck back, 48 hours after the Spanish government thought it had averted disaster by breaking up a suspected ETA cell in Navarre, next to the Basque country.
A car bomb exploded in the University of Navarre, injuring 22 people, mostly from flying glass.
A vague telephone warning was sent to a Basque motorist assistance organisation, prompting police to check the nearest university of Vitoria.
Navarre university, some 70 kilometres away, was busy with students at classes when the bomb went off an hour later.
“We were at the entrance to the communication faculty when we heard an incredible noise. The building shook and everyone was scared and ran outside. There we saw a huge column of smoke, and a burning car. We knew straight away it had been a car bomb,” said one student.
Thick smoke hung over the skyline of Pamplona after the blast. Heavy loss of life was only avoided by chance.
Established in 1952, the private Catholic university was set up by the founder of the Opus Dei movement, and has been attacked by ETA five times before.
Two days ago, arrests were made in Pamplona and Valencia in a big police operation against ETA during which large quantities of explosives and weapons were seized. Police claimed they had dismantled a new terrorist cell that was ready to strike.
Navarre is not part of the Basque country, but along with parts of France it forms what Basque hardliners claim as their homeland.