Two car bombs rocked Madrid yesterday, killing a Spanish army officer in the first attacks blamed on Basque separatist group ETA since it ended its ceasefire in early December. The blasts, just four days after Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar called a general election for March 12, ripped through a central neighbourhood where many military personnel live and came close to a kindergarten. The first fiery explosion, set off by remote control, killed Spanish army Lieutenant Colonel Pedro Antonio Blanco Garcia, 48, as he passed by a car packed with explosives. Police said a 14-year-old girl was also hurt. A second blast shook the area just minutes later, destroying a car parked two blocks away but causing no further casualties. Police said the vehicle had been used by the ETA bombers. Spain's government ruled out any new peace talks with ETA and vowed instead to crack down on the group. At least two previous bomb attacks were recently thwarted by police. That is how the government will continue to respond to ETA - trying to arrest its terrorists and avoid its attacks, and repeating to ETA that it is wrong and will never achieve its objectives through violence, the government's chief spokesman Josep Pique said. We will never, never give in to blackmail by terrorists, said Javier Arenas, secretary-general of Spain's ruling centre-right Popular Party.
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