Thoudsands of Spaniards held silent vigils across the country yesterday to mourn the latest victim linked to the armed Basque separatist group ETA. Meanwhile leading parties renewed calls to support an anti-terrorist pact seeking an end to ETA's deadly offensive. Francisco Cano, a plumber who worked as a local politician for Spain's ruling Popular Party, was killed on Thursday by a bomb seen as ETA's first reply to an anti-terrorism pact signed by Spain's two biggest political parties just two days earlier. Cano became the 22nd fatal victim blamed on ETA this year in the bloodiest wave of violence by the outlawed group since 1996, when it killed 26 people. ETA has killed some 800 people since 1968 in its drive for an independent state straddling northern Spain and southwestern France. A poll published on Friday said 30 percent of Basques strongly favour independence and showed falling support for a radical independence party seen as ETA's political wing. At midday thousands gathered outside town halls across Spain, dedicating five minutes of silence to Cano, 45, who was killed in a small northeastern town by a bomb placed beneath the seat of his van as he drove to a repair job. Murderers without limits, read the front page headline published by Barcelona newspaper La Vanguardia. Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar was set to lead a march in Barcelona on Friday evening, expected to be joined by thousands of citizens in what has become a sombre and angry ritual with each ETA killing
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