Two policemen have died in a car bomb explosion in Spain's northern region of Navarre. Spanish officials are blaming the attack on the Basque Separatist group ETA. It was to have been a morning of routine work for three policemen visiting the town of Sanguesa, 45 kilometers east of Pamplona, capital of the autonomous region of Navarre.
The three belonged to a unit that travels around rural areas issuing or renewing national identity cards. After about three hours of administrative chores in Sanguesa, the policemen returned to their vehicle.
Shortly after two of the officers got into the car, the bomb went off. Investigators believe that it had been placed in their car, while the policemen were going about their work.
The officers in the car, Bonifacio Martín and Julian Envit, were killed. The third, Ramon Rodriguez, was seriously injured, and immediately rushed to the hospital. A number of civilians were slightly injured by the blast.
The attack took place as the Spanish Cabinet was holding its weekly meeting. After it concluded, Deputy Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy immediately blamed the pro-independence Basque terrorist group ETA for the attack.
Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar was scheduled to travel to St. Petersburg to join in festivities celebrating the city's 300th anniversary, but he has canceled the visit.
Prior to Friday's explosion, the only person killed by ETA this year was a Basque regional policeman in the Basque town of Andoin.
Authorities have kept the terrorist organization at bay, with 42 arrests in Spain and 13 in France this year alone. But on May 15, during campaigning for municipal and regional elections throughout Spain, members of ETA appeared in a video broadcast by Basque regional television, and vowed to continue their bloody campaign for an independent state made up of the Basque provinces of France and Spain and the autonomous region of Navarre.