No injuries reported after blast

Updated: June 25, 2005, 7:46 PM ET
Associated Press

MADRID, Spain -- A car bomb exploded Saturday near a Madrid stadium used to promote the city's bid to host the 2012 Olympics after a warning call by the Basque separatist group ETA, officials said. No injuries were reported.

The bomb went off about 7 p.m. at a parking lot outside the Peineta track and field complex, the Interior Ministry said.

The parking lot was nearly empty at the time and the blast, which came after a warning call made in ETA's name to the Basque daily newspaper Gara, caused little damage, the ministry said.

ETA, blamed for killing more than 800 people since launching its fight for Basque independence in 1968, frequently makes warning calls to Gara.

The group, whose initials stand for Basque Homeland and Freedom, wants independence for the three-province Basque region in northern Spain.

ETA is accused of targeting other Olympic-bid sites in Spain.

In February, a car bomb blamed on ETA exploded near Madrid's Ifema convention center, a proposed Olympic venue for six sports, including badminton and weightlifting.

That explosion, which slightly injured 43 people, came three days after International Olympic Committee inspectors wrapped up a four-day tour of the city.

Madrid is competing with Paris, London, Moscow and New York to host the 2012 Olympics. The International Olympic committee will pick a site on July 6.

ETA has been blamed for more than a half-dozen bomb blasts since Spanish prime minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero obtained parliamentary backing in mid-May for his proposal to start talks with the group if it renounces violence. No one has been killed in the blasts.

ETA's last fatal attack was a bombing that killed two police officers in May 2003.


Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press

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