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ETA Claims Last Week's Deadly Car Bomb Blast - 2002-08-14

The Basque separatist group ETA has claimed responsibility for a bomb explosion last week in Spain that killed two people, including a six-year-old girl. ETA also warned Spain's political parties against trying to ban its political wing, Batasuna.

ETA's communique issued to a Basque radio station claims responsibility for a car bombing in the beach town of Santa Pola on August 4 that killed the little girl and a 57-year-old man. The group also claimed responsibility for a bombing in a fast-food restaurant in another town and for a bomb deactivated by police on a beach earlier this week.

In the same message, the Basque separatist group threatens to take what it calls measures against political parties that do not reject a proposal to ban the radical Basque separatist party, Batasuna.

ETA seldom claims responsibility for attacks so soon after they occur. But last weekend, Spain's major parties - the Popular Party and the Socialists - agreed on a plan to outlaw Batasuna.

According to a law passed in parliament in June, any party that supports, justifies or excuses terrorist acts can be outlawed. A special session of parliament has been called later this month to vote on a proposal to ban Batasuna.

The moderate but pro-independence Basque National Party which controls the Basque region's autonomous government, has said it will vote against any such measure.

The Communist-dominated United Left coalition has taken the same position. But the Catalan and Galician regional parties plan to abstain. The ETA statement threatens any party which even abstains in a vote as being responsible for what it terms as prolonging the conflict in the Basque country.