Police Search for ETA Suspect Who Left Bag With Explosives Inside Taxi in Eastern Spain

Police on Thursday searched for an alleged member of the Basque separatist group ETA who avoided a police checkpoint by jumping out of a taxi, leaving behind a gym bag containing explosives, authorities said.

The suspect fled near the tourist resort of Torreblanca, said an Interior Ministry official speaking on condition of anonymity.

ETA declared a ceasefire in March 2006 but grew frustrated with the ensuing peace process with Spain's Socialist government, set off a car bomb that killed two people in December 2006 and last month formally declared the truce over.

The newspaper El Mundo reported on its website that the gym bag contained two lunch boxes with cables, timers, explosives and detonators with the symbol of ETA.

In recent weeks Spanish authorities have said they have thwarted at least three plans by ETA to carry out terror attacks.

In June, investigators found a car loaded with 100 kilograms (220 pounds) of explosives in southwestern Spain near the Portuguese border.

On July 4 Interior Minister Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba said ETA had intended to cause casualties in a bomb attack it had planned for the end of June. The attack was thwarted when authorities in France intercepted a van packed with explosives.

Last week police detained an alleged ETA member in the northern Spanish coastal city of Santander who had plans to carry out a terror attack using a car bomb.

Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero's government has been pursuing a hardline policy against ETA since it broke a cease-fire by exploding a bomb at Madrid airport Dec. 30.

ETA, whose name stands for Basque Homeland and Freedom, has been waging a violent campaign since the late 1960s for an independent Basque state.