Suspected terrorists or holiday makers? French police yesterday released security camera footage of five men suspected of being members of ETA, the outlawed Basque separatist group, wanted for the murder of a police officer.
Now they have been identified as firefighters from Catalonia by their families and are on an adventure sports holiday in France.
The incident has left French police red-faced in their hunt for the killers of 52-year-old police officer Jean-Serge Nerin who was gunned down in a shootout near Paris.
His patrol had arrested two men who were filling up the fuel tanks of stolen cars – a gunbattle then broke out with armed men who arrived in two more vehicles travelling behind.
If the separatist organisation is behind his death, then the father-of-four will be the first French police officer to be killed by ETA.
Security had been stepped up following the recent arrest of an ETA suspect in Normandy.
The police had hoped for a breakthrough by going public with the CCTV footage; now it has left them embarrassed and no nearer to solving the killing or establishing if ETA was behind the gun attack.