Briton badly hurt in Spanish bomb attack

A British man was being treated in hospital tonight after he was seriously injured in the first of two terrorist car bomb attacks in resorts on the Costa del Sol.

A British man was being treated in hospital tonight after he was seriously injured in the first of two terrorist car bomb attacks in resorts on the Costa del Sol.

The 33-year-old tourist, who was not being named, was one of six casualties of the first blast, outside the Hotel Las Piramides, in Fuengirola, a resort which is popular with British and German holidaymakers.

Two other Britons, both children, suffered minor injuries in the attack, which was blamed on the Basque separatist terrorist group, Eta.

A Moroccan child and a Spanish couple also suffered minor injuries in the first attack.

Police in Fuengirola said a grey Peugeot 205 exploded shortly after 7am (6am Irish time), while many in the resort were asleep in their hotels.

Others were already pouring gathering in bars to watch England play Brazil in the World Cup.

A second blast went off in Marbella at 1.05pm (12.05pm Irish time), six hours after the first blast, but there were no reports of injuries.

The attacks took place as European leaders, including Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, gathered for an EU Summit in Seville, southern Spain.

Eta was reported to have warned that they would carry out a Costa bombing campaign during the EU summit.

Tonight Costa Del Sol Hospital in Marbella said the Briton had undergone an operation and was recovering.

A spokeswoman said: ‘‘He has had an operation to stop bleeding to the left hand side of his chest.

‘‘His condition is still serious but he is out of danger and is recuperating. His brother is flying out from England tomorrow.’’

A spokeswoman from the British Embassy in Madrid said the 33-year-old was hit by shrapnel from the explosion, which left splinters in his lungs, diaphragm and spleen, as well as a deep wound in his chest.

She said the British children caught up in the blast were taken to health centres where they were treated for cuts and bruises, and that they were now with their families.

The towns of Marbella and Fuengirola are part of a dense Costa del Sol group of seaside resorts.

The attacks came only a week after the authorities found 288lbs of dynamite and other explosives, along with detonators, in woods near Valencia.

The blast followed a telephone warning in the name of Eta to the emergency services in the northern Basque city of San Sebastian.

Eta, whose name is a Basque-language acronym that stands for Basque Homeland and Freedom, has been fighting since the late 1960s to carve an independent state out of lands between northern Spain and south-west France.

Eta’s violent campaign has killed more than 800 people and the terrorists have targeted Spain’s tourist resorts several times in the past.

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