Tourists delayed by bomb.

Spanish police deactivated a car bomb at Malaga airport yesterday after a warning from Basque separatist group ETA, which has threatened to target the country's massive tourism industry this summer. A bomb squad found a car carrying explosives in a car park at the airport, a spokeswoman for the Interior Ministry said. “It has been deactivated. There was between 50 and 60 kg (110 and 130 pounds) of explosives,” she said. Malaga airport serves major beach resorts on Spain's southern coast and is one of the busiest in the country. Police had been on alert for possible ETA attacks in tourist destinations after a suspected member of the group was killed on Tuesday in the coastal town of Torrevieja, near Alicante, when explosives she was handling blew up. ETA has killed 34 people since it ended a ceasefire in late 1999, drawing widespread public condemnation, and the group warned in March it would target the tourism industry, which accounts for about 10 percent of Spain's economy. Several flights were delayed on Thursday as bomb experts worked in the underground car park and passengers were kept inside the airport building for several hours. Cars heading for the airport were also halted, creating a traffic jam. Spanish media said services had returned to normal by Thursday afternoon. Officials in the Basque region said a warning call in the name of ETA was made to a highway ambulance office, triggering the alert. The call was made just after 7 a.m. (0500 GMT) and the caller said the explosives would blow up an hour later. ETA has attacked beach towns before. In 1996 a bomb exploded in an airport in Reus, a resort in northeastern Catalonia region, injuring 35 mostly British tourists. The head of a Spanish hotel owners group said Thursday's incident would probably not have a major impact on bookings. “Of course it's a concern but we are confident the Interior Ministry is acting correctly,” said Felipe Gaspar, secretary general of Zontur, a confederation of hotel owners. “This kind of news doesn't help but we don't think its too damaging.” ETA usually singles out Spanish politicians or members of the security forces for its killings.


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