15 Killed in Spain Store Bombing; Basques Blamed

From Times Wire Services

A car bomb exploded in the underground parking garage of a crowded store Friday, killing 15 people and injuring more than 35. Authorities blamed Basque separatists for one of Spain's worst terrorist attacks on a civilian target.

Eight men, five women and two children died when the time bomb exploded at about 4:15 p.m. in a garage underneath the Hipercor department store in Barcelona, Spain's second-largest city.

Hospital sources said that at least 12 of the injured were in critical condition, suffering burns over 90% of their bodies.

Officials said 12 of the dead were trapped in the parking area and died of asphyxiation.

Interior Minister Jose Barrionuevo said the attack against a civilian target was a "sign of weakness" by the Basque separatist group ETA.

ETA, a Basque-language acronym for Basque Homeland and Liberty, has killed more than 500 people, nearly half of them civilians, in its 19-year guerrilla war to win independence for the three Basque provinces in northern Spain.

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