Terrorism in Europe — страница 7

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Northern Ireland, and given that the Ajuria-Enea pact had failed to bring peace to the Basque Country, the Lizarra/Estella Pact brought together political parties, unions, and other Basque groups in hopes again of changing the political situation. Shortly after, September 18, 1998, ETA declared a unilateral truce or ceasefire, and began a process of dialogue with Spain's PP government. The dialogue continued for some time, but ETA resumed assassinations in 2000, accusing the government of being "inflexible" and of "not wanting dialogue". The communique that declared the end of the truce cited the failure of the process initiated in the Lizarra/Estella Pact to achieve political change as the reason for the return to violence. The Spanish government, from the

highest levels, accused ETA of having declared a false truce in order to rearm. Later came acts of violence such as the November 6, 2001 car bomb in Madrid, which injured 65, and attacks on soccer stadiums and tourist destinations. The September 11, 2001 attacks appeared to have dealt a hard blow to ETA, owing to the toughening of antiterrorist measures (such as the freezing of bank accounts), the increase in international police coordination, and the end of the toleration some countries had, up until then, extended to ETA. In addition, in 2002 the Basque nationalist youth movement Jarrai was outlawed and the law of parties was changed outlawing Herri Batasuna, the "political arm" of ETA (although even before the change in law, Batasuna had been largely paralyzed and

under judicial investigation by judge Baltasar Garzуn). With ever-increasing frequency, attempted ETA actions have been frustrated by Spanish security forces. On Christmas Eve 2003, in San Sebastiбn and in Hernani, National Police arrested two ETA members who had left dynamite in a railroad car prepared explode in Chamartнn Station in Madrid. On March 1, 2004, in a place between Alcalб de Henares and Madrid, a light truck with 536 kg of explosives was left to cause a massacre, but was prevented by the action of the Guardia Civil. Recent events On February 18, 2004, ETA publicly stated that a ceasefire only in Catalonia had been in effect since January 1, based on "a desire to unite the ties between the Basque and Catalan peoples." Some claimed that this ceasefire

was based on a secret pact with Josep-Lluнs Carod-Rovira, leader of Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya (ERC, "Republican Left of Catalonia"). Carod-Rovira, despite admitting to having met with ETA in France in December denied having reached any accord, saying that the meeting was an attempt to drive ETA away from violence, and ended with no results. This, during an electoral campaign, became a scandal, and endangered the recent tripartite Catalan government, formed by ERC (ERC), Iniciativa per Catalunya Verds-Esquerra Unida i Alternativa (ICV-EUiA) and the Partit dels Socialistes de Catalunya (PSC). The opposition then accused Aznar of being behind the leak to the media of the intelligence report detailing the meeting and Aznar refused to clarify whether he knew about

this meeting before the leaking. Aznar was also questioned as to why the ETA members who attended that meeting were not detained. Also in 2004, ETA was initially suspected of being the authors of a series of ten bombings only a few days before the national elections, which targeted three locations along Madrid's suburban train lines on the morning of March 11, 2004, killing 192 civilians (see 11 March 2004 Madrid attacks). This theory was officially endorsed by Josй Marнa Aznar's government, despite the police quickly gathering evidence pointing towards Islamic terrorism. Many Spanish citizens took this rush to judgment as an offence towards the victims of the attacks and towards the Spanish people; this was generally seen as a decisive factor in the electoral result which

overturned Aznar's government (see Spanish legislative election, 2004). The authorship of this attack, the largest European terror incident in terms of lives lost since the 1988 Pan Am flight 103 flight bombing, has been finally ascribed to Islamist terrorists by the Spanish police. On September 27, 2004, ETA militants sent a videotape to Gara, a Basque newspaper based in Guipъzcoa, in which the militants stated that ETA would continue to fight for Basque self-determination and that ETA would "respond with arms at the ready to those who deny us through the force of arms." This videotape represented ETA's first major public statement since the March 11 attacks. During the weekend preceding the videotape release, the group claimed responsibility for a series of bombings