French and Spanish police are hailing a major victory in the fight against terrorism with the arrest of the man they believe to be the head of the Basque separatist movement ETA. Jose Lopez Pena, 49, was detained at an apartment in Bordeaux, France, after a manhunt which spanned a quarter of a century.
He is believed to have been ETA’s political and military chief for the past two years.
He is also thought to have been behind the bombing of Madrid airport in 2006 which lead to the end of ETA’s de facto ceasefire with the Spanish government.
Three other suspected ETA members were picked up with him in Bordeaux. One of them, a woman, is believed to be the person who read out the end-of-ceasefire statement in a televised video.
France’s Interior Minister Michelle Alliot Marie said she was delighted by the success of the operation.