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Madrid rocked by car bombing

A CAR bomb believed planted by the Basque separatist group ETA exploded at a Madrid business park yesterday, but no one was injured, police said.

The bomb went off shortly after 9am on the outskirts of the Spanish capital, about 90 minutes after the Spanish Red Cross received a warning call, a police spokesman said.

The explosion blew a meter-deep hole in the ground, destroyed about 30 cars and blew out windows of nearby offices.

The area had been cordoned off after the Red Cross received a call from someone claiming to speak on behalf of ETA. The caller said an explosives-laden van parked near Ferrovial construction firm's offices would explode at 9am, Red Cross spokeswoman Belen Ruiz said.

If confirmed as an ETA bomb, it would be the group's first attack in Madrid since December 30, 2006, when an ETA car bomb at Madrid's airport killed two and ended a nine-month cease-fire.

ETA set off a car bomb at the same Madrid business park in February 2005, injuring 43 people.

The blast yesterday caused traffic havoc near the city's airport and interrupted services on one subway line serving the business park and airport.

Hours earlier the Supreme Court had banned candidates from two Basque nationalist parties from taking part in upcoming Basque regional elections because of alleged links with ETA.

Spanish National Radio said Ferrovial was one of the companies involved in the construction of a high-speed train project in the Basque region that has been targeted by ETA.

ETA has killed more than 825 people since 1968. Last December the group claimed responsibility for the fatal shooting of a Basque businessman linked to the high-speed train project and a car bomb outside a Basque television station.


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