The suspected leader of ETA has been arrested, says the Spanish government, hailing a joint operation with police in northwestern France.
In rural lower Normandy, three alleged members of the group were detained including Ibon Gogeascoechea who has been on the run for 12 years.
This morning’s raid is the latest blow to the armed Basque Separatists, who have been weakened by 32 arrests in just two months.
But Spain’s Interior Minister Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba is far from complacent.
“This does not free us from the risk of a forthcoming attack,” he said. “And it is true, as I often repeat, that ETA has the worst intentions and the arrests this morning confirm that. So we must not lower our guard.”
The second suspect in custody is Beinat Aguinalde. He is wanted in connection with two killings that ETA said it carried out in 2008. One of them, in which a former Socialist councillor was shot dead outside his home, occurred just two days before Spain’s general election that year.
The other man arrested today, in the latest sign of cross-border cooperation with France, was Gregorio Jimenez. He is wanted in connection with a failed missile attack in 2001 targeting Spain’s then Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar.