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Bomb Explodes in Spanish Hotel

A bomb exploded Sunday in a Mediterranean resort hotel in southeast Spain after a telephone warning from the Basque separatist group ETA (search), Interior Ministry officials said.

The ministry office in the southeast Alicante region said it did not know whether there were any casualties.

The bomb detonated in the Hotel Port Denia (search) around 3:15 p.m., the news agency Efe (search) reported. The town of Denia is located in the Spanish region of Alicante on the Costa Blanca and is popular with tourists.

Efe quoted police as saying the warning call was placed to police in the Basque region. The hotel was immediately evacuated and the bomb exploded about 30 minutes later.

ETA is blamed for more than 800 deaths since the late 1960s in a campaign of bombings and shootings aimed at achieving an independent Basque homeland in land straddling northern Spain and southwest France.

The hotel bombing occurred two days before Spain's Parliament was scheduled to debate — and almost certainly reject — a proposal making the Basque region virtually independent.

On Jan. 18, a powerful car bomb exploded in the affluent town of Gexto near the main Basque city, Bilbao. That blast also was preceded by a call from a person claiming to speak for ETA.

That explosion caused slight injuries to a policeman and dashed hopes that ETA might be close to calling a cease-fire. Two days earlier, ETA issued a statement appealing to the Spanish government to start peace talks with Batasuna, ETA's banned political wing.

The statement made no mention of ETA laying down its weapons, the government's stated condition for undertaking such talks.