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Basque blast undermines peace hopes

Basque blast undermines peace hopes
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A train station in Spain’s Basque country has been rocked by a bomb explosion in another suspected attack by the armed separatist group ETA.

No one was injured in the blast at Barakaldo but the entrance and ticket office were extensively damaged. It followed a car bombing in Madrid on Wednesday in which 52 people were injured. The incidents have been seen as a snub to government peace overtures to ETA. Yesterday a judge ordered the detention of the leader of the Basque separatist political group Batasuna which is alleged to have links to the militant organisation. Demonstrators gathered to call for the release of Arnaldo Ortegi who was being detained pending bail. His family and supporters are understood to have raised the 400,000 euros required to secure his freedom while his case is ongoing. He is facing charges of having links to ETA. Less than two weeks ago the Spanish government opened the possibility of talks with ETA if it ended its armed campaign. There has been a spate of violent incidents since and the prospects for negotiations seem remote at this stage.