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Madrid says arrests prevented ETA attack

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Madrid says arrests prevented ETA attack


The Spanish government says yesterday’s arrests of ETA’s alleged military chief and several suspected members of the Basque separatist group prevented an imminent terror attack.

Jurdan Martitegi was captured along with two other men in southeastern France. He is the third alleged ETA leader to be seized in five months and Spain’s interior minister said there will be no let-up. He added whoever his replacement might by the Spanish and French security forces would track them down. In the hours that followed the arrests in France Spanish police detained six people in raids in the Basque country. They say the joint operations broke up a cell that was poised to launch an attack. In the past two years, Spanish and French police have arrested around 400 ETA suspects. The Spanish government has taken a tough line since breaking off a peace process with ETA after a bomb attack at a Madrid airport that killed two people. There seems little prospect of that policy changing. Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero said: “The battle against terrorism is unstoppable and I assure you we will finnish off ETA in the interests of freedom and peace in the Basque country and the rest of Spain.” There are growing signs of internal tensions within the violent separatist movement. Spain’s El Pais is reporting that a former leader has called for the organisation to abandon terrorism and push for new peace talks.

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