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Three journalists have been the targets of attempted assassinations two weeks ago, sparking fears that terrorist attacks against the media in Spain's Basque country are starting up again, observe Reporters sans frontières (RSF) and the World Association of Newspapers (WAN).
On 17 January, parcel bombs were delivered to the homes of Enrique Ibarra, vice-president of the Correo Press Group; Santiago Silván, director of Radio Nacional de España (RNE); and Marisa Guerrero, director of television station Antena 3.

Police defused the bombs after Ibarra reported receiving a suspicious package that evening. According to RSF, the parcels were apparently sent by the militant separatist group Euskadi ta Askatasuna (ETA).

RSF says the Correo Press Group and its reporters have been targeted numerous times by radical separatist groups linked to ETA. The last attack occurred on 3 March 2001 when 20 Molotov cocktails were hurled at the head offices of "El Correo", a regional daily based in Bilbao. No one was injured in the attack.

RNE has also been targeted before, notes RSF. In 2000, reporter Carlos Herrera, based at the radio station's Seville office, was sent a bomb. It was safely defused by police.

Journalists and media companies are one of ETA's favourite targets in their struggle against the Spanish government, says RSF. They are deemed "traitors or Spanish invaders" if they do not share the organisation's "radical nationalist ideology."

The last assassination occurred on 24 May 2001 when "El Diario Vasco" executive Santiago Oleaga Elejabarrieta was shot at point-blank range in San Sebastian. [See IFEX "Communiqués"
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To date, nearly 100 journalists receive some sort of protection, whether official or private, while 12 media professionals from the Basque region live in exile in Madrid.

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