ETA planned terrorist attack in Valencia before European referendum

Police say evidence suggests that the two suspected terrorists arrested yesterday in Valencia, Spain, were about to commit a terrorist act probably against a member of the Spanish armed forces, a police station or a tourist information office.

On their arrest the two members of Eta had in their possession a bomb ready to be used, two guns, dinamite and detonators aswell as material to prepare another bomb. Police think they were preparing to plant several bombs before the referendum to be held this Sunday in Spain on the European constitution. The police also found a list with some 500 names on it, presumably possible targets for these or future terrorist acts.

Spanish police and security forces have been on alert over the past few days, ever since they discovered a letter written by one of the leaders of ETA expressing his order to see “dead people on the table immediately”. Police say the presence of the two terrorists who had arrived in Valencia just the day before is directly linked to the arrest of two other suspected ETA terrorists a few days ago in El Campello (a village just 160 km south of Valencia) and Basauri, Vizcaya.

Following the arrests, Mikel Orbegozo Etxarri and Sara Majarenas Ibarreta travelled straight to Valencia from France.

According to witnesses yesterday, the Basque couple were in their hotel room with the explosives when they realised that police were searching the building. They tried to walk out of the main entrance without anyone noticing them, but were recognised and approached by police. Majarenas offered no resistence. Orbegozo ran away with a gun in his hand, but was soon captured by police. Both Majarenas and Orbegozo were carrying false police identification badges and several false ID cards.

The authorities have warned the Spanish public to be careful this weekend.

In declarations on Spanish radio, Spain’s State Prosecutor said yesterday that the latest arrests and evidence suggested that the terrorist organization ETA was like a wounded animal on its last legs, but prepared to commit desperate attacks and that precisely because of this, people should be on guard.