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Basque Separatists Blamed in Bomb Explosion

In Spain, several people have been injured in a bombing attack Thursday in the northern Basque country. The attack took place on a day police arrested five suspected Basque separatists.

A bomb hidden in a covered shopping cart was activated this morning just after nine, in a suburb of the northern Spanish town of Bilbao. Several passersby were injured, including a Socialist politician Esther Cabezudo and her bodyguard, but none of the injuries are believed to be serious.

The bomb, estimated to be about 10 kilograms, caused considerable damage to nearby cars and buildings, including a school.

Police are blaming the explosion on the the Basque separatist group, ETA. It is the second attack in recent days against a Socialist party politician. Last week, a young Socialist politician lost his leg in a car bomb. Politicians of the two mainstream Spanish parties, the Socialists and the ruling Popular Party, are frequent targets of ETA because they oppose holding a referendum on Basque independence, as advocated by the Basque Nationalist party.

In another development Thursday, Spain's Interior Minister Mariano Rajoy announced the arrest of five suspected members of ETA in Pamplona, capital of the autonomous region of Navarre in northern Spain. Basque separatists claim this region as part of their homeland.

Mr. Rajoy said the five had been arrested previously for carrying out acts of street violence.

The Barcelona newspaper La Vanguardia reported Thursday that, under questioning, other recently detained ETA suspects have revealed a plan to carry out terrorist attacks during a European Union summit in Barcelona early next month.

Spain holds the rotating presidency of the European Union and has made the fight against terrorism one of its major objectives.