Spanish police defuse twin ETA bombs

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MADRID, Nov 11 (Reuters) Spanish police today deactivated two bombs placed by Basque separatist guerrillas ETA in the northern seaside town of Getxo, local government officials said.

Police found the first bomb after emergency services received a call at around 1045 hrs alerting them ETA had left a bomb outside the court house in Getxo, near the Basque city of Bilbao, the local government said in a statement.

The device placed inside a backpack failed to detonate at the court house door and police moved in to deactivate it, officials said, adding that it contained 5 kg of explosive.

A second bomb with 3kg of explosive was found in a rubbish bin after police reviewed security camera footage and saw two men had dropped it into the container.

''It was an attempt at a serious attack,'' said Basque government justice minister Joseba Azkarraga, adding that he had no doubt it was the work of ETA.

The failed attack follows a car bombing of a Basque Socialist politician's bodyguard in October, in which he escaped with only minor injuries.

An ETA car bomb packed with 61 kg of explosive failed to explode near a Defence Ministry office in the northern Spanish city of Logrono in September.

ETA and its supporters have been hit by a series of arrests this year and Spain's government say the group has been weakened since failed peace talks last year.

The government broke off the talks last after ETA killed two people in a December car bombing of Madrid airport. The group declared an end to a ceasefire in June.

ETA has vowed to keep up bomb attacks against the Spanish state, saying there is no point in negotiating with the Socialist government.

In an interview published today, Spanish Interior Minister Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba told the El Pais newspaper he saw no chance for future talks with ETA and foresaw a long period of violence ahead.

''The word 'ceasefire' no longer has any meaning coming from ETA,'' Rubalcaba said.

Polls show most Basques do not want independence from Spain, the cause for which ETA has killed more than 800 people.

Reuters SBC VP0010

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