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Monday November 20, 2000

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Basque separatist group ETA admits to 10 killings

By The Associated Press

MADRID, Spain - The Basque separatist group ETA has claimed responsibility for killing 10 people since the end of July and lashed out at politicians and journalists who it said hamper independence.

In a statement published yesterday by two pro-independence Basque newspapers, the ETA also said it was behind 17 bombing and shooting attacks over that period. ETA habitually admits to its attacks in statements several weeks later.

ETA, whose name is a Basque-language acronym for Basque Homeland and Freedom, has claimed responsibility for some 800 killings since its campaign began in 1968 for an independent state it believes should encompass parts of northern Spain and southwestern France.

In the statement, published in Gara and Egunkaria, ETA criticized the Spanish and French governments, Basque political parties, magistrates, civil servants, journalists and intellectuals for assisting in what it calls the repression and suffering of the Basque people.

The group ended a 14-month unilateral cease-fire last December and since then has stepped up its campaign, killing 20 people so far this year, its highest yearly toll in nearly a decade.

The latest fatal attack, a car bomb in Madrid Oct. 30, killed a Supreme Court judge, his police bodyguard, his chauffeur and the driver of a passing municipal bus.