Neighbours of a Spanish police barracks targeted in a bombing blamed on Basque separatist group ETA say the attack was to be expected considering the lax security at the site. Two people, including a six-year-old girl, were killed and 45 people injured when a car bomb exploded outside the barracks on Sunday night. Officials pointed the finger at ETA, the armed group that has killed more than 800 people since 1968 in its campaign for an independent Basque homeland. Locals said Santa Pola, which is a popular seaside resort as well as the site of a Civil Guard barracks, was an obvious target for ETA. “I knew something was going to happen. Every time we saw an attack on TV my mother said it had to happen here. It's a tourist zone with a barracks. There is little or no surveillance,” said Soler Castillo, who lives opposite the bomb site. Other neighbours said it was not uncommon to see cars parked in front of the Civil Guard buildings for days at a time. “I've called several times to report them,” said Fermina, Castillo's mother. “This was expected. It's scary.” Neighbour Jose Aybar complained that the car bomb was parked just 10 metres (yards) from the barracks. “When I heard the explosion, I told my wife it had to be the barracks. It was a warning foretold,” Aybar said. A Civil Guard spokesman in Madrid said security measures had been in place. “There are security measures in all the barracks. A neighbour? What do they know about security? They do not even see our security measures,” the spokesman said. The Civil Guard is on notice that it is a target for ETA, listed as a terrorist organisation by the United States and the European Union. The quasi-military Civil Guard was used by former dictator General Francisco Franco to repress Basque nationalism and the Basque language during much of Franco's reign until he died in 1975. Meanwhile yesterday the leader of the political wing of ETA, Batasuna, sought to place the blame on Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar for choosing police force over negotiations to end the Basque conflict, and a crusading anti-ETA judge implored politicians to use a new law to outlaw Batasuna. ETA has killed some 800 people since 1968 in a bloody campaign for an independent Basque homeland in northern Spain and southwestern France. Sunday's killings were the first since the controversial law was passed in June establishing that political parties which support, justify or excuse terrorism, racism or xenophobia are themselves responsible for those crimes.

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