________________________________________________________________________ Basques blamed for new attacks in Spain ____________________________________________________________________________ Copyright ) 1997 Nando.net Copyright ) 1997 Reuters SAN SEBASTIAN, Spain (December 5, 1997 09:41 a.m. EST http://www.nando.net) - A politician's bodyguard was shot in the head and a car bomb exploded in the Spanish resort city of San Sebastian on Friday in attacks authorities blamed on the Basque guerrilla group ETA. The Basque country violence erupted on the morning 23 leaders of Herri Batasuna, ETA's political wing, were due to be arrested to begin serving seven-year prison sentences imposed Monday for collaborating with the separatist guerrillas. Police said the shooting victim, Jose Maria Lobato, a 28-year-old bodyguard for a San Sebastian city official of Spain's ruling Popular Party, was in serious condition after being shot once in the head. He was still conscious when rushed by ambulance to a local hospital, officials said. Only minutes after the shooting, a car exploded in the same section of the city, capital of the province of Guipuzcoa, the most fiercely nationalistic of Spain's three Basque provinces. Police believe the gunmen who shot Lobato may have deliberately blown up the car they fled in to destroy any evidence. No injuries were reported in the explosion. Authorities think the attacks were the work of ETA (Basque Homeland and Freedom), which has killed more 800 people in a 29-year campaign for an independent Basque state. The shooting came in the tense lead-up to the scheduled detention of the Herri Batasuna leaders, who had refused to report voluntarily to prison to start their sentences. Government officials had voiced fears that the jailing of the radical politicians could provoke retaliation by the guerrillas.
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