Politicians said ETA was trying to create a climate of fear.


A car bomb exploded in the Basque capital Vitoria yesterday, killing a Socialist politician and his bodyguard in an attack blamed on the separatist guerrilla group ETA. The explosion rocked a university campus in Spain's Basque Country less than three weeks before a general election marked by strong condemnation of ETA from across the political spectrum. It was the second fatal attack linked to the guerrillas since they ended their 14-month ceasefire in early December. The fiery blast occurred as Fernando Buesa, secretary-general of Alava provincial branch of the opposition Socialist party, and his bodyguard, walked past a parked car packed with explosives, police said. Both died almost instantly as the impact hurled their bodies several metres away. The explosion, which occurred within a few hundreds yards of the Basque regional government headquarters, created panic among university students and staff. Several vehicles erupted in flames, spewing burning wreckage into the street and sending thick black clouds billowing into the sky. The Spanish government said the bomb was clearly the work of ETA, which had resumed its bloody three-decade long campaign for independence after fledgling peace talks broke down last year.