February 9, 2009: ETA Bombing in Spain

On this day in 2009 a bomb inside a van exploded in northeastern Madrid, after a warning call by ETA

MADRID, SPAIN – Some say a way to stop terrorists is to invite them into the democratic process: keeping them out could actually lead to more violence.

You would have to be a brave politician to stand up and say that a bunch of people who bombed, killed and maimed over decades should now be asked to become part of the system. It is unlikely that a country’s citizens who suffered under this violence, especially those who lost loved ones to this campaign, would be too keen to now say ‘let bygones be bygones’.

And yet this is exactly what has been happening in several countries, including Colombia. That nation, keen to put a half century of terrorism behind it in the form of the Frente Armada Revolucionaria de Colombia (FARC), has allowed that terrorist group to take part in elections. Not all are happy with this development.

Something similar happened in Spain where the Basque terrorist organisation ETA (Euskadi Ta Askatasuna – Basque Homeland and Liberty), which had been active for more than a half century, announced its dissolution in 2020 and said it wanted to play by the rules. This was not always the case.

On this day in 2009

A bomb inside a van exploded in northeastern Madrid, after a warning call by ETA. The blast caused damage but there were no immediate reports of injury. The attack came just hours after Spain’s Supreme Court declined to allow two new leftist Basque parties to compete in the March Basque regional elections the years in northern Spain. Authorities had alleged the new parties were simply new names for other leftist Basque parties already outlawed for their links to ETA.

What ETA did this morning ratifies the Supreme Court decision last night.

Interior Minister Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba

It certainly seems like the terrorism campaign led by ETA is over. Then again, never say never. The group did not achieve its goal of independence and who is to say for certain that other actors will not resort to violence to achieve similar ends in the future?

Read more Today in Terrorism

By Phil Gurski

Phil Gurski is the President and CEO of Borealis Threat and Risk Consulting Ltd. Phil is a 32-year veteran of CSE and CSIS and the author of six books on terrorism.

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