Basque group remains active despite truce deal

Spain's interior minister believes the armed Basque separatist group ETA remains active despite speculation that it will declare a truce over the next months, citing a new communique by ETA in which it claimed responsibility for five attacks.

"I'm not surprised by ETA's new claim of responsibility. ETA is still alive, operative and with capacity to carry out attacks," Jose Antonio Alonso said.

ETA's statement was published in the pro-independence newspaper Gara, often a mouthpiece for ETA.

The armed group claimed responsibility for a June 25 car bomb against La Peineta, a proposed Olympic stadium of Madrid's failed bid to stage the 2012 Olympic Games. No one was injured in the attack.

In the statement ETA also claimed responsibility for other four non-lethal bomb attacks going back to June. However, it did not made any reference to possible talks with the Spanish government.

In May, the government of Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero offered ETA peace talks if the armed group renounced violence, but ETA has maintained a campaign of relatively low-level violence.

There have been persistent suggestions that Zapatero's administration has already made contacts with ETA, which have been strongly denied by both Zapatero and his Socialist party. Some reports have even ventured that ETA would announce a cease-fire in the next three months, the AP reports.

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