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Basque Separatists Claim Responsibility for Madrid Bombing

The Basque separatist group ETA has formally claimed responsibility for last month's deadly bombing attack in Madrid, but insists that a nine-month-old ceasefire is still intact.

The ETA announcement came Tuesday in a statement published in a Basque newspaper. It said ETA militants did not mean to kill anyone at the Madrid airport on December 30. It also blamed the Spanish government for a breakdown in the peace process.

Under pressure from conservatives, the government of socialist Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero suspended peace overtures immediately after the bombing, which killed two Ecuadoreans.

Earlier Tuesday, Spain said police in southern France arrested two suspected ETA operatives - the first such arrests since the Madrid bombing.

The Spanish Interior Ministry said one of the detainees, identified as Asier Larrinaga Rodriguez, is linked to an arms cache found in northern Spain on December 23.

The Basque separatist group is blamed for more than 800 deaths since 1968, when it launched a violent campaign for creation of a Basque state in northern Spain and southwestern France.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.