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Friday, January 05, 2007

Police find more explosives in Basque Country

MADRID (Reuters) - Police found another stash of explosives in the Basque Country on Friday as rescue workers tried to uncover the body of a second man killed by a huge ETA car bomb at Madrid airport last Saturday.

The bombing shattered a nine-month Basque peace process, weakening the Madrid government's hand significantly, and the discovery of more explosives has Spain worried that ETA could strike again.

Police in the northern Basque region, which ETA wants to be independent, said they found another 20 kilos (44 lb) of explosive materials in the town of Atxondo. On Thursday, they found 100 kilos (220 lb) of ammonal explosives ready for use.

"A plastic container was found in a small hole in the ground, filled with about 20 kgs of ammonium nitrate ... as well as detonators," the Basque police said in a statement, adding that they were still searching for more material.

In Madrid, rescuers worked to get through tonnes of rubble and recover the body of Diego Armando Estacio, one of the first two people to be killed by ETA since May 2003.

Both victims of the bomb were Ecuadorean immigrants.

Estacio's corpse was found on Thursday evening using a tiny camera to get through the twisted mess of concrete and metal, which was once the carpark of the new Terminal 4.

Rescuers found the body of the first victim, Carlos Alonso Palate, on Wednesday and his remains were returned to Ecuador for burial on Thursday.

An emergency services spokesman said it could take several hours to get to Estacio's body because of the danger that the pile of rubble could collapse.

ETA had killed more than 800 people in its four decade campaign for a Basque homeland, carved out of northern Spain and southwest France, before declaring a "permanent truce" in March.

While the group has not officially claimed responsibility for Saturday's blast, one of the warning calls was made in the name of ETA.
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