The armed Basque separatist group Eta said today it has called off the cease-fire it declared last year, setting the stage for a resumption of attacks.
Eta said in a statement sent to two Basque newspapers that the truce it called in March 2006 will end at midnight tonight. Eta said it will be "active on all fronts to defend the Basque homeland."
When Eta declared the cease-fire last year, it called the truce permanent and said it wanted a negotiated end to the nearly 40-year conflict, which has left more than 800 people dead. Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero announced in June 2006 that his government would negotiate with Eta.
These talks - never confirmed by the government but widely believed to have taken place - made no significant progress, and Eta set off a huge bomb at Madrid airport on 30 December, killing two people. Even so, Eta insisted at the time that the truce stood, and said the two fatalities were unintended.
Now Eta has formally declared an end to the cease-fire.
It blamed Zapatero for the failure of the peace process, and contended that the Basque leg of local elections on 27 May were illegitimate because most pro-independence politicians that wanted to run were barred by Spanish courts on grounds of links to Eta's outlawed political wing, Batasuna.
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