The Associated Press
MADRID, Spain — A van loaded with explosives blew up Friday outside a police station in the Basque city of Durango, slightly injuring two officers in what appeared to be the first major attack by the separatist group ETA since it called off a cease-fire in June, officials said.
Whoever set off the bomb in Durango, about 25 miles south of Bilbao, fled in a car and then detonated it a vacant lot in the nearby town of Amorebieta, the Spanish Interior Ministry office in the Basque regional capital Vitoria said.
The second explosion wasn’t considered an attack, but only a means to destroy evidence, authorities said. No one was hurt and no damage was reported.
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The injured officers in Durango were treated for cuts from flying glass.
The blast impacted the Civil Guard station and residential barracks in Durango, shattering windows and damaging police cars parked outside, the ministry office said. Nearby apartment buildings were also damaged.
"All indications point to ETA," a Vitoria ministry official said on condition of anonymity because of department rules barring publication of her name.
The attack happened shortly after 3:15 a.m. There had been no warning, the ministry said.
"Families and children live in that police station which makes the attack all the more despicable," Paulino Luesma, the Interior Ministry’s chief delegate in Vitoria, told Cadena SER radio.
Police believe 175 pounds of explosives were used in the bomb at the station, the Spanish national news agency Efe said. It was not immediately known how many people were at the station during the attack.
Television images showed residents in the area coming out in the rain to see what had happened.
ETA called the cease-fire in March 2006, but grew frustrated with a lack of government concessions in ensuing peace talks, and set off a huge bomb in a parking area at Madrid’s airport on Dec. 30, killing two people. It insisted then that the truce was still in effect, but finally declared it formally over in June, and Spanish security forces have been on alert ever since.
ETA has killed more than 800 people since 1968 in its campaign for an independent Basque state.
Low-level street violence by ETA supporters has increased since June, and Basque business leaders say the group has resumed sending them extortion letters seeking money to fund its campaign.
ETA detonated two small explosive devices on July 25 along the route that the Tour of France used when the race dipped into northern Spain for a few hours. No one was hurt.
Interior Minister Alfredo Rubalcaba said recently that security forces had thwarted several attempted attacks by ETA in the past few months.