LAREDO, Spain – Five bombs exploded in northern Spain on Sunday causing damage but no injuries, officials said. A person, claiming to be speaking on behalf of Basque separatist group ETA, had phoned in warnings about four of the bombs.
The first detonated without warning around 5 a.m. outside a bank in the Basque town of Getxo, damaging a cash dispenser and breaking windows, the regional Interior Ministry said in Bilbao.
Five hours later, a caller warned the Basque fire service that four bombs would explode in Laredo and Noja in the neighboring province of Cantabria, the ministry said.
A bomb exploded in the sand next to Laredo's beach-front promenade at around 12:20 p.m. In Noja, two devices detonated at the beach, the first around 1 p.m., the second about an hour later near a lifeguard hut, and another bomb exploded at a golf course at about 3 p.m., according to Cantabria's regional Interior Ministry in Santander.
It had been raining and the beaches were virtually empty of people when police arrived to cordon off the areas.
Laredo and Noja have long, sandy beaches and are popular summertime destinations. Getxo, near the Basque port of Bilbao, is home to many business leaders.
"ETA constitutes a senseless, absurd anachronism in Europe in the 21st century," said Mikel Cabieces, government representative in the Basque region. "Terrorists are against our economy, against our development and our well-being."
ETA, considered a terrorist group by Spain, the EU and U.S., has been fighting since 1968 for an independent Basque homeland in northern Spain and western France.
The group declared a cease-fire in March 2006 but grew frustrated at lack of progress in peace talks with the government.
ETA ended its cease-fire in December 2006 with a bombing at a Madrid airport parking garage that killed two people, and declared the truce formally over in June 2007. Since then, ETA regularly has detonated bombs, often after phoning in warnings.
More than 825 people have died in the four decades of Basque violence.