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Three blasts rock busy Spanish island

world Updated: Aug 10, 2009 08:57 IST
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Three blasts rock busy Spanish island

Three bombs exploded on the Spanish holiday island of Majorca on Sunday as the militant Basque separatist group ETA seemed to be stepping up its renewed bombing campaign.

The attacks seemed designed to draw attention more than to harm people. All contained low levels of explosives and were only detonated after warnings had been given allowing ample time to clear people from the blast sites. No injuries were reported.

But they came on the same day that ETA claimed responsibility for several recent bombings in Spain.

The first of Sunday's bombings occurred at a restaurant on the outskirts of Palma de Majorca, along the road leading from the city centre to the island's airport and near a recreational harbour.

The explosive was hidden in a backpack in one of the restaurant's bathrooms.

The second explosion came about two hours later, in another restaurant only about 500 metres from the first. The third came in a nearby underground supermarket shortly afterwards. The shopping complex had already been sealed off by police.

The attacks are another blow to the island's tourism industry and came the same day ETA released a statement to the Basque daily Gara claiming responsibility for several recent bombings, including an attack on Majorca in which two police officers were killed.

In its statement, the group said it had carried out the car bomb attack July 30 in the resort town of Palmanova in Majorca.

Carlos Saenz de Tejada, 28, and Diego Salva Lezaun, 27, of the paramilitary Civil Guard were killed when their car exploded in the tourist resort in the west of the island.

ETA also claimed responsibility for a similar attack outside a police barracks in the northern city of Burgos July 29 that left 65 people injured.

The bomb attack in the Basque town of Arrigorriaga that killed a policeman was also the work of its operatives, the group said.

Police and ETA supporters clashed in the coastal city of San Sebastian Saturday when police broke up an illegal rally. Two men were arrested.

The most recent bombings coincided with the 50th anniversary of the founding of the group which seeks a sovereign Basque state created out of northern Spain and southern France.

ETA is listed as a terrorist organisation by the EU and the US and blamed for more than 820 deaths since 1968.

Spain's Interior Minister Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba vowed after the Majorca attack that the government would never again negotiate with ETA, but defeat the group with the help of police and the judiciary.