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Re: [Eurasia] [CT] DISCUSSION: Likely ETA attack in Mallorca

Released on 2012-08-06 00:00 GMT

Email-ID 5427107
Date 2009-07-30 18:49:14
Stephen Meiners wrote:

Any other thoughts on this?

Ben West wrote:

Authorities have shut closed ports and airports on the tourist island
of Mallorca, Spain after an explosive device detonated under what is
believed to be a police patrol vehicle outside a police station in
Palmanova. Two police officers were killed in the explosion and
several others were injured. The explosion destroyed the vehicle,
burning it out completely, but caused little damage to surrounding
vehicles and buildings. The attack occurred at 2pm, approximately
1/4 of a mile from the city's popular tourist beaches, during the
islands peak tourist season, so civilians were certainly at risk from
this attack, something that ETA tends to avoid. [tourists weren't
really at risk though. based on previous attacks, it does not seem to
be the case that they avoid this either. the potential for collateral
damage has been present in almost every bomb attack they've carried
out, and even more so in the ones they've done in other tourist hot
spots. this was primarily an attack on police targets (keep in mind we
don't know if the cops killed were involved in ETA investigations),
though it is interesting that it occurred in a touristy town. then
again, many places in Spain are touristy.] I agree.... ETA avoide
civilians for a short while as a test... they don't care much now...
we've done pieces on that in the past few years...... ALSO, this
wasn't hitting a totel, they hit a police station, which is an
expected target

There have been no claims for the attack, but authorities suspect that
Spanish separatist group, ETA is behind the attack. While the group
is primarily active in the north of Spain in Basqueland [do we really
use the term Basqueland? I thought it was Basque country/region, or
Euskadi?], the group has proven capable of striking outside this
region before - most recently detonated a 200 kg car bomb in the city
of Burgos, which is outside of traditional Basque territory. In August
1995, authorities broke up an ETA plot to assassinate the Spanish King
Juan Carlos with a rifle while the king was on his yacht. Other
attacks in Madrid and Barcelona in recent years have established the
fact that ETA's attacks are not constrained to Basqueland [though
that's always been the case, especially going back to the 80s and 90s.
I don't think it's ever been doubted that they have a capability and
intent to carry out attacks outside of the Basque country. I think a
more important point is that ETA targets cops all over Spain (both in
Basque country and elswehere) but they're not likely to conduct
attacks on civilian targets inside the Basque country].

Targeting the patrol car outside the police station is also a very
common targeting tactic by ETA and likely rules out the possibility
that this attack was carried out by elements of Russian organized
crime, (who have a heavy presence on Mallorca) as they typically limit
their attacks to business disputes. [are we referring to Russian OC
tactics in general, or in Mallorca specifically? do we have historical
examples of Russian OC violence on Mallorca, particularly using IEDs?
or have they not used IEDs there ever?]

Targeting police personnel and facilities is a tactic commonly used by
militant groups to undermine the mission of a police department to
provide security. The response to effectively shut down
transportation to and from the island is likely to disrupt the tourist
industry there - most likely the intention of the group behind this
attack, despite the fact that the attack targeted a police station.

With a changing demographic and political climate in Basqueland,
STRATFOR has noted that ETA, with less support in its Basque
autonomous region, is likely to become more violent as it becomes more
desperate. As Basque country overall grows more moderate, ETA will be
left with only the most extreme members who could very well deviate
from the common ETA practices of not targeting civilians, calling
attacks in ahead of time and conducting attacks in the middle of the
night when casualties are less likely. Can we have a timeline of
attacks over the past year by ETA? to show the uptick in the past few

Ben West
Terrorism and Security Analyst
Cell: 512-750-9890

Lauren Goodrich
Director of Analysis
Senior Eurasia Analyst
T: 512.744.4311
F: 512.744.4334