There were solemn scenes near Paris as the French and Spanish leaders paid tribute at the funeral of a policeman whose murder has been blamed on ETA.
Were that to be confirmed, last week’s shooting in a suburb near the French capital would be the first time a French police officer has been killed by the Basque separatists.
Today, Nicolas Sarkozy repeated his pledge in front of the Spanish Prime Minister to pursue the armed organisation without mercy.
“We are fully mobilised,” said the French President. “We are going to eradicate all ETA bases in France one by one. We are going to flush them out one by one and we will dismantle all support for this terrorist organisation.”
Later at the Elysee Palace the Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero thanked France for its help in tackling ETA. More than 30 suspected members were arrested in France last year.
“France and Spain, President Sarkozy and I feel great sadness for the death of the French policeman,” he said. “But those who need to worry most are the members of ETA because they will be pursued relentlessly by two big police forces together – until ETA’s presence is finished in this country.”
The officer Jean-Serge Nerin was shot dead as his patrol checked the identities of a group suspected of stealing cars.
A Spanish man, a suspected member of ETA, was arrested near the scene. Police are still hunting several other people in connection with the murder.