A car bomb exploded outside a hotel in a tourist resort in northeastern Spain yesterday minutes after authorities received a warning in the name of Basque separatist group ETA, officials said. Police had time to evacuate the hotel's several hundred guests, many of whom are British and Italian, but 13 tourists sustained minor cuts or bruises in the rush and the building suffered superficial material damage. The blast in the Mediterranean coastal town of Salou, about 90 km (55 miles) south of the Catalonian capital Barcelona, follows threats by ETA to attack Spain's key tourist interests. “A car bomb containing between 40-50 kg (110 pounds) of explosive exploded at 0803 a.m. (0603 GMT) this morning,” a spokesman for the Spanish government in the northern Catalonia region told Reuters. An anonymous caller who claimed to represent ETA alerted authorities to the bomb about an hour before it went off in the hotel's parking lot. “The 13 injuries are very slight but the explosion damaged windows and doors at the hotel and nearby buildings,” the spokesman said. Those injured included a young British woman, and Irish, French, Russian, Portuguese and Spanish tourists. ETA, one of the last armed separatist groups still active in Western Europe, has been blamed for about 800 killings in its 33-year fight for an independent state in Basque areas of northern Spain and southwestern France. Spanish police believe ETA was responsible for two small explosions on the high-speed rail link between Madrid and Seville on Wednesday, officials said. The explosions, which led to delays and the temporary suspension of the service, was seen as part of ETA's campaign to harm Spain's summer tourist trade. Tourism brings in about $60 billion a year for Spain, the world's third most popular holiday destination after France and the United States. A suspected ETA member blew herself up last month while handling explosives in the Mediterranean resort of Torrevieja. That was followed two days later by a potentially devastating car bomb at Malaga airport on the Costa del Sol. Saturday's blast occurred just one day after the Interior Ministry announced stepped-up cooperation between national police and civil guards with the Basque regional police force in the fight against ETA.

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