Page last updated at 10:49 GMT, Monday, 23 February 2009

Basque socialists' offices bombed

Pro-independence Basque rally, Lejona, 19/02/09
Pro-independence Basques are campaigning ahead of Sunday's polls

A bomb has exploded outside the local headquarters of the Basque Socialist Party in the Basque town of Lazkao.

The blast followed a telephone warning claiming to be from the Basque separatist group, Eta, police said. It caused some damage but no-one was hurt.

The bombing comes ahead of regional assembly elections in the Basque Country to be held on Sunday.

Polls show the governing Basque nationalist PNV could lose their 30-year hold on power to the Socialists.

Spanish courts have barred two other Basque nationalist parties from taking part in Sunday's elections, ruling that they are linked to Eta.

The separatist group has been blamed for the deaths of more than 820 people in its 40-year campaign for an independent Basque nation.

Eta's last victim was a Basque businessman, who was shot dead in December over his involvement in a high-speed rail link between the Basque region and Madrid - a project that Eta has opposed.

Police said the latest bomb exploded in Lazkao at about 0300 (0200 GMT) on Monday, two hours after the warning call was received by Spain's DYA road assistance service.

By then the area had been sealed off. No-one was hurt, although the bomb, which was in a rucksack left outside the party office, caused extensive damage, police said.

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