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Spain woke up Wednesday morning to a mix of fear, relief and indignation. A car bomb parked next to a 14-story building of Guardia Civil offices and homes in the northern town of Burgos exploded at 4 a.m., stripping the facade down to its framework but "miraculously" causing no casualties. Reportedly 65 people suffered injuries, mostly with cuts, none of them serious. One hundred seventeen people — Guardia Civil agents and their families, including 41 children — were inside the building, sleeping. Spanish media reported the vehicle — a van stolen in France and with fake Spanish license plates — was loaded with several hundred kilos of explosives. Authorities believe ETA was responsible.
Minister of Interior Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba said, "This is not an attack against the Guardia Civil only, which is detestable, it is an attack planned to hurt their families, which makes it particularly mean ... An attack aimed to kill — there's no doubt about it — that luckily did not cause deaths." Perez Rubalcaba added, in reference to ETA, "Today we know they are murderers, savages and mad, and that does not make them stronger, but it no doubt makes them more dangerous."
Listed by Spain and the European Union as a terrorist organization, ETA, the initials for "Euskadi Ta Askatasuna," which in Basque means Basque Homeland and Freedom, was founded in 1959 to fight for the independence of the Basque region of Spain and France. Since then, it has killed more than 800 people, including children. Its targets have included members of the armed forces, police, politicians, university teachers, judges and journalists. The Guardia Civil is a Spanish security corps dependent on both the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of Interior.
Neighbors from nearby buildings were evacuated in the aftermath. Spanish television news showed nervous women and men on the verge of tears, explaining with trembling voices how suddenly a big noise was followed by glass raining upon them.