Wednesday, November 06, 2002

Well, there's good news and bad news on the anti-terrorism front here in Spain. First the good news. The French cops arrested two armed ETA members in the town of Agen near Toulouse. (As much as we complain about the French, we have to admit that their law enforcement and security departments are effective in the War against Terrorism.) The cops decided to check these two guys out because they looked suspicious; originally they thought that these guys, who have not been identified yet, were involved in drug trafficking. Turned out they were both armed, packing pistols. The French immediately arrested them and found that they were carrying internal ETA documents; they're being held in Toulouse and the French have sent their fingerprints to Madrid so that they can be identified. Now the bad news. Two bombs in the Vigo area of Galicia went off, killing two people and wounding two more. The police think that this is a local job, since the bombs do not carry the hallmarks of having been either the work of ETA or Spain's other terrorist group, the communist GRAPO. Early suspicions focused immediately upon GRAPO, since Vigo has served as a GRAPO home base and a center for GRAPO activity, but the cops are now convinced they weren't involved; the cops are also discounting the idea of a war between drug-trafficking and smuggling gangs, common in Galicia, because of the nature of the victims, ordinary, decent Joes. The dead couple were nice middle-class people; the husband was a middle manager at Pescanova. The injured are a man who worked in a Citibank branch and his 12-year-old son. These people are not involved in organized crime or terrorism. Could it be a Unabomber-style terrorist? We have no idea but hope the perps get busted soon. Also in France, in the Lyon banlieue, eight people have been arrested, accused of complicity in the Al Qaeda suicide bombing of a Tunisian synagogue last April which killed 18 people. Good.

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