by: Jackie Calderon
ETA has been held responsible for killing 829 people, injuring thousands and undertaking dozens of kidnappings. The group is proscribed as a terrorist organization by the Spanish, British, French, and American authorities, and by the European Union as a whole. More than 700 members of the organization are incarcerated in prisons in Spain, France, and other countries.
- Bombings of civilians or targeted assassinations of political figures
- Kidnapping of political figures
Many of ETA’s victims are government officials. The group’s first known victim was a police chief who was killed in 1968. In 1973, ETA operatives killed Franco’s apparent successor, Admiral Luis Carrero Blanco, by planting an underground bomb below his habitual parking spot outside a Madrid church. In 1995, an ETA car bomb almost killed Jose Maria Aznar, then the leader of the conservative Popular Party, who later served as Spain’s prime minister. The same year, investigators disrupted a plot to assassinate King Juan Carlos. More recently, in March 2008, ETA killed a former city councilman in northern Spain two days before an election.
The Spanish government estimates that ETA has killed over 800 people and carried out over 1,600 terrorist attacks. Some of ETA’s victims are civilians, though the group usually phones in warning of their attacks before the attacks occur. ETA has consistently targeted Spain’s tourist attractions, most recently by bombing buses along Spain’s tourist-packed Costa del Sol. According to a report from the newspaper El País, attacks by ETA cost the Spanish government nearly $11 billion from 1994 to 2003.
- December 20, 1973: Assassination of Spanish prime minister Luis Carrero Blanco. Carrero was traveling in a car over a street under which ETA had placed explosives. The bombing retaliated against the bombing by the government of five political opponents.
- June 19, 1987: A car bomb kills 21 civilians in ETA’s most lethal attack