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ETA blamed for bomb explosion in northern Spain

A bomb alleged to have been set by militant separatist group, ETA, exploded outside a regional television station in the northern Basque city of Bilbao on Wednesday morning.

A bomb alleged to have been set by the Basque militant separatist group ETA exploded outside a public broadcaster's headquarters in the northern city of Bilbao, Spain, on Wednesday morning.

The explosion at about 11 a.m. near the offices of EITB, the Basque region's public TV and radio service, followed a warning issued by ETA, officials said. Several other media outlets, including a bureau of the newspaper El Mundo, are also housed in the building.

The warning call to police came about an hour before the explosion and allowed time for buildings to be evacuated, police said.

The area was cordoned off and traffic diverted. One minor injury has been reported.

With a population of just under one million, Bilbao is the Basque region's main city and home to one of the Guggenheim museums.

"They have tried to silence one of this country's media outlets," EITB director Bingen Zupiria told reporters outside the building. The station managed to stay on air despite the explosion.

Television stations broadcast footage of the explosion, showing windows being blown out and a large plume of smoke rising from the six-storey circular building.

The explosion caused significant damage to the building, officials said.

"I still don't know how to react. What a way to end the year," EITB on-air host Begona Zubieta told the Associated Press.

Police said agents followed tips from the caller Wednesday and found the owner of the vehicle used in the attack tied to a tree in woods just outside Bilbao.

No reason had yet been given for the attack, but it is believed that the public broadcaster has been an ETA target for some time, said Miren Azkarate, a government spokeswoman.

In the past, ETA has attacked security force members, political parties, banks, businesses and public transit.

"There's no point in reading anything special into this attack," EITB editor Inigo Herze told Spain's CNN+ television channel. "ETA attacks anyone that doesn't believe in what it believes in."

ETA, an armed militant group, has been fighting since the late 1960s to create an independent Basque homeland in northern Spain and southwest France. The violence has claimed more than 800 lives.

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