Patterns of Global Terrorism 2000 - Spain

Spain was wracked by domestic terrorism in 2000. After abandoning its cease-fire in late 1999, the terrorist group Basque Fatherland and Liberty (ETA) began a countrywide bombing and assassination campaign, killing 23 and wounding scores more by year's end. ETA traditionally targets police, military personnel, and politicians, as well as journalists and businessmen. As 2000 progressed, however, the group appeared to become increasingly indiscriminate in its attacks, targeting, for example, intersections and shopping areas. The public responded with huge demonstrations in major cities, demanding an end to the violence. Also in 2000, the Spanish and French Basque youth groups united and continued their campaign of street violence and arson. Spanish authorities diligently prosecuted ETA members on terrorism and criminal charges, and the Aznar government reiterated its determination to eliminate terrorism and not negotiate over independence for the constitutionally autonomous Basque provinces. After difficult discussions over the role of moderate Basques represented by the Basque Nationalist Party (PNV), the governing and opposition Socialist parties signed a common anti-ETA pact at year's end.

The First of October Anti-Fascist Resistance Group (GRAPO), quiescent in recent years, stepped up its activity in 2000. In November, the group murdered a Spanish policeman following the arrest of seven GRAPO leaders in Paris, killed two security guards during a botched armed robbery attempt of a security van in May, and carried out several bombings that damaged property but caused no injuries. In November, the Spanish Interior Minister stated that arrests of GRAPO operatives in France had effectively dismantled the leadership and operational command of the group.

In June, Spain's Interior Minister Jaime Mayor Oreja visited Washington in keeping with the active, high-level dialogue on terrorism between the United States and Spain. Spain also played an important role in the Central Asian Counterterrorism Conference sponsored by the US Department of State held in Washington in June. A Spanish court convicted Ramon Aldasoro, whom the United States extradited to Spain in December 1999, for his participation in the bombing of a police barracks in 1988.

Spanish and French interior ministries cooperated closely in combating terrorism, including arresting numerous ETA members and raiding logistics and support cells. France regularly delivered detained ETA terrorists, including several senior leaders, into Spanish custody. Spain also secured a pledge from Mexico to deny safehaven to ETA members. Spain welcomed the condemnation of ETA in November by all Ibero-American presidents – except Cuba's Castro, whose refusal harmed bilateral relations.

Spain has urged the European Union to adopt more vigorous measures against terrorism, including creating a common judicial space. Spain and Italy signed such an agreement.


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