ETA’s terrorist activity in Malaga

AFTER 40 years of murder and mayhem on Spanish soil terrorist organization ETA declared a halt to armed conflict. EWN reporter Jennifer Leighfield provides an insight into the group’s history in the Costa del Sol.

BASQUE terrorist group ETA has targeted Malaga province on more than 30 occasions, focusing mainly on the Costa del Sol due to the negative impact this would have on tourism.

The first attack was on June 29, 1979, when a bomb exploded on a Marbella beach at practically the same time that another device was deactivated in Plaza de la Marina in the centre of Malaga city.

The following day, another bomb exploded on a Marbella beach injuring two foreign tourists.

On June 28, 1980, the Guardia Civil located a bomb on a Mijas Golf Course, and on July 2, the controlled explosion of a device was carried out in Benalmadena, which required the Alay, Triton and Riviera hotels to be evacuated.

In the summer of 1986, up to nine bombs were set off in hotels in Torremolinos, Fuengirola, Estepona and Malaga city.

After five years of peace, they returned in February 1991 when ETA place a car bomb outside the old prison in Malaga city, injuring seven and causing severe damage to surrounding buildings.

In April that year, the target was the Guardia Civil barracks in Torremolinos where a car bomb injured 14 people.

1996 saw another summer of terror with several small bombs along the Costa del Sol and Malaga city, mainly to scare tourists.

The following year they placed bombs under the vehicles of Rincon de la Victoria mayor Jose Maria Gomez Muñoz and councillor Francisco Robles. However, a local woman noticed “something strange” under one of the cars, the police were alerted and the attacks prevented.

The only victim of ETA’s reign of terror in Malaga was local councillor for the Conservative Partido Popular, Jose Maria Martin Carpena, who was killed in front of his wife and daughters when he was exiting his home on July 15, 2000. More than 300,000 people gathered in the city centre to condemn the attack.

Just four days later, the same terrorists who had killed Martin Carpena attempted to take the life of socialist Jose Asenjo, with a bomb under his car, in which he, his wife and his 15-year-old daughter were travelling, which failed to explode.

This led to mass demonstrations against terrorism in Malaga City.

In 2001, they targeted the hub of tourism on the Costa del Sol with a car bomb in the car park at Malaga Airport which was deactivated after having failed to explode at the planned time.

Between June 21 and 22, 2002, there were up to five attacks with car bombs in Mijas, and outside Las Piramides Hotel in Fuengirola and the Hotel Melia Don Pepe in Marbella.

On December 6, 2004, a national holiday, a small bomb went off in the Paseo del Parque in Malaga but no-one was injured.

In August 2008, three bombs were placed in the Guadalmar area, Puerto Marina in Benalmadena and on the N-340 between Torremolinos and Malaga. Some 15,000 people were evacuated. Two exploded causing no damages and the other was deactivated.

Apart from these attacks in the province, seven Guardia Civil officers from Malaga have been killed in different points of Spain.

Antonio Lopez Cazorla, 37, from Alcaucin died in Barcelona in 1977; Andres Silverio Martin, 25, from Gaucin, died in Getxo in 1978; Juan Jimenez Gomez, 58, from Benaojan, was killed in his own office in Guipuzcoa in 1978; Juan Garcia Leon, 21, from Malaga, was shot eight times in Eibar in 1980; Francisco Montenegro Jimenez, 44, from Archidona, was shot while having a coffee in Barcelona in 1981; Francisco Muriel Muñoz, 30, from Archidona, was killed in Guipuzcoa in 1986; Andres Fernandez Pertierra, 20, brought up in Malaga, was killed with 11 others in Madrid in 1986; Juan Manuel Piñuel, a resident of Malaga, 40, was killed in an attack on Guardia Civil barracks in Legutiano, Alava, in 2008, he was due to return to Malaga to be with his wife and daughter.

Photo credit: Jesus Dominguez

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