Mallorca Closes Borders After Bombing

30 July 2009

A bombing in the coastal town of Palmanova caused officials to halt all air and sea traffic to and from Mallorca Thursday, July 30. This incident follows Wednesday's bombing in northern Spain.

According to

“At least two Civil Guard officers have been killed by a car bomb blast outside a barracks in the west of the Spanish island of Majorca, officials say.

The vehicle exploded in Palmanova shortly before 1400 (1200 GMT). Spanish police ordered all Majorca's ports and airports to be closed to prevent the bombers escaping. The blast comes a day after a car bomb hit a barracks in the mainland city of Burgos, injuring 46 people. That has been blamed on Basque separatists ETA.

The BBC's Steve Kingstone in Madrid says ETA, which has been blamed for more than 820 deaths during its decades-long campaign for an independent homeland in Spain's Basque region, will again be the focus of police inquiries. On Friday, the group will mark the 50th anniversary of its founding.

A spokeswoman for the civil guards told the AFP news agency that the two officers killed in Thursday's attack had been inside a patrol car parked outside the El Foc barracks when the bomb exploded.

Several other people were also said to have been injured by the blast, which happened in a busy area where there is also a post office and health centre.

Dave Wilkinson, who was having lunch at a restaurant in the area at the time, told the BBC that he had heard a loud explosion and seen a black plume of smoke rising.

"We ran around the corner to see what had happened and saw a car on fire parked on the left  handside of the road," he said.

"Across the road, there was a man lying on the floor and another two people with him doing CPR."

"A police car came and officers said to get back as there may be another bomb and that the area wasn't safe. Two or three helicopters were circling over the area," he added.

No warning

Security sources told the Spanish news agency, Efe, that the bomb had probably been planted underneath the patrol car and had been detonated when they got into the vehicle or turned on the engine.

A similar method was used in Eta's last fatal bombing in June, when a senior police officer was killed by a car bomb in the city of Bilbao, in the Basque Country.

Thursday's attack was the deadliest since two Spanish undercover policemen were shot during an operation in south-western France in December 2007.

The powerful car bomb blast which hit a police barracks in Burgos on Wednesday caused extensive damage but only minor injuries. The explosion, which happened without prior warning at around 0400 (0200 GMT), destroyed the lower floors of the building and left a deep crater in the ground. Wreckage was found 70m away.

Nearly 100 police officers and their family members were sleeping inside at the time. Forty-six people, including children, were hurt by flying glass.

There was no claim of responsibility, but local politicians and police were quick to blame Eta, saying it was an attempt to take lives and cause maximum damage.”


Inga Featherstone flew into Palma Friday, July 31 to pick up a yacht for delivery. The airport is open to incoming flights after the bomb blast yesterday, but outgoing traffic is still grounded, at least for another 24 hours, she says. The port is also shut to exiting traffic, but is expected to open Saturday, August 1.

“The King of Spain flew in yesterday and there are police everywhere on the streets in Palma,” Featherstone says. “All the yacht crew are having to walk around with their passports as everyone’s being stopped by the police. It’s obvious they believe the terrorists are still around.”

“We just returned to Palma from Oban Monday night,” says Capt. Don Feil of M/Y Asteria. “I haven’t been off the ship today [Friday] but as of last night there was no tangible impact on security or activities at Club de Mar.”

Today they bury the two Guardia Civil police officers killed during the blast and the island moves into three days of official mourning. This year represents the 50th anniversary of ETA and according to Nick Entwisle, the marketing director of Pinmar Yacht Painting Systems in Palma, he can’t see them making another attempt at disrupting island life. “The attitude here is very much, ‘don’t give in to them’,” he says.