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Majorca Bombings

British government: Majorca travel 'still safe'

Aug 11, 2009

It is still safe to travel to Majorca, the British government last night advised holidaymakers, despite two bomb attacks on Sunday.

The two small bombs, believed to be the work of Basque separatist group ETA, exploded on the Spanish island just over a week after ETA killed two police officers on the island.

No one was hurt in yesterday's blasts, the Spanish Government said, and police defused a third device found nearby amid speculation that ETA is attempting to spread fear among tourists at the height of the summer holiday season.

Last night the Foreign and Commonwealth Office updated its travel advice for Spain, again warning British holidaymakers to be aware of the "high threat" of "indiscriminate" attacks by ETA but did not advise travellers to avoid the area.

Meanwhile, hours ahead of yesterday's attacks, two Basques wanted in Spain in connection with ETA terrorism addressed an audience in Belfast.

The pair — Ianaki Juana de Chaos and Arturo Beñat Villanueva — are fighting extradition from Northern Ireland.

Chaos, a mass murderer who was involved in a 1980s bombing campaign during which 25 people died, will appear in a Belfast court again in September.

The two Basques appeared as part of the Féile an Phobail (West Belfast Festival) at what was billed as a "political persecution" discussion.

The pair have received support from both Sinn Fein MEP Bairbre de Brun and Breandán MacCionnaith of the dissident republican group éirígí.

One of yesterday's bombs exploded in the La Rigoleta restaurant on the Can Pere Antoni beachfront in Palma and the second went off in an underground passage at the central Plaza Mayor square.

Officers deactivated a bomb left at Bar Enco.

Police searched a hotel on the Mediterranean island's popular beach-front capital, Palma, for a possible fourth bomb, the government said.

Earlier, ETA claimed responsibility for four other bombings this summer that killed three people — including two police officers killed in Majorca on July 30 — and injured dozens more.

Spain's state-run broadcaster TVE said that one bomb exploded in a beach bag hidden in the ceiling of a women's toilet in the restaurant.

The restaurant had been evacuated following two phone calls made to a taxi company in mainland Spain's northern Basque region, El Pais newspaper said. The caller, who said he was calling on ETA's behalf, warned of the bombs.

In past years, ETA has often targeted Spain's tourist industry with small bombs during peak summer holiday months in an effort to disrupt trade and force the government to negotiate with them.

Spain has vowed to crush ETA since the group ended what it had said was a permanent ceasefire in 2006.

In a statement published yesterday in Basque newspaper Gara, one of ETA's usual mouthpieces, the group claimed responsibility for attacks that left three people dead and 60 injured, including children, in June and July.

British government: Majorca travel 'still safe'
A policeman stands beside a cordon in the central district of Palma de Mallorca / Image via AFP


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