Spanish anti-terrorist police have arrested eight suspected members of ETA in a major crackdown on the violent Basque separatist group. It is reported one of those detained is a known ETA activist who had been on the run since 2005 and who has a conviction for assaulting a policeman.
Police sources said 30kg of explosives and detonators were found in the series of raids in the Basque country and neighbouring Navarre. Interior Minister Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba said the searches were continuing: He described it as “a vast operation against ETA’s structure in the Basque land.”
The Socialist government has been accused by opponents of going soft on the armed group.
A bomb attack on Madrid’s main airport in December, in which two people were killed, brought a halt to a peace process intended to end ETA’s campaign of violence. Since then the government has shown little willingness to revive it.
On Tuesday it said it would investigate whether a new Basque party aiming to run in regional elections in May was a vehicle for Batasuna, ETA’s outlawed political ally.