Page last updated at 11:55 GMT, Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Spain raises terror alert level for EU role

Spanish Guardia Civil officers - file pic
Anti-terror raids are believed to have weakened Eta

Spain has raised its terror alert level to two on a four-point scale, as it prepares to assume the six-month presidency of the EU on Friday.

Earlier, Spain's interior minister warned that the Basque separatist group Eta might attempt a kidnapping to get publicity for its cause.

"There is a probable risk of an attack," Interior Minister Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba said on Monday.

Eta has waged a 41-year campaign for an independent Basque homeland.

The group, which ended its most recent ceasefire in June 2007, is blamed for more than 820 deaths in that period. This year, the group has killed three Spanish police officers using car bombs.

Mr Rubalcaba also pointed to the continuing threat from international terrorism, highlighted by the alleged attempt to blow up a US airliner on 25 December.

Spain will host several high-profile international summits during its EU presidency.

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