A car bomb exploded in the northern Basque city of Bilbao today outside a regional television station following a warning call from armed separatist group ETA, causing significant damage to the building, according to Spanish media reports. No injuries were reported.
Spanish National Radio reported that the bomb exploded shortly after 11 am (1000 GMT) today close to the offices of the EITB regional television station. The building had been evacuated and the area was cordoned off to traffic following a warning call to police about an hour before the explosion.
Spain's state-run television station broadcast footage showing the moment the bomb exploded. The force of the blast blew out the windows of the glass facade and then a large plume of thick smoke rose up and partially covered the six-story circular building. Police were not immediately available to confirm details of the attack because their telephone lines were ringing busy. It was not immediately clear why ETA may have chosen EITB as a target. Several other media outlets are housed in the building, including a bureau of El Mundo newspaper.
ETA has killed more than 825 people since 1968 in its campaign for Basque independence. The group declared a cease-fire in March 2006 that led to peace talks. But that truce ended in December 2006 when ETA detonated a car bomb that killed two people at Madrid's Barajas airport.
ETA's suspected leader was arrested in southern France on Dec. 8. French and Spanish police detained Aitzol Iriondo three weeks after his alleged predecessor, Mikel de Garikoitz Aspiazu, alias Txeroki, was caught.