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Crossborder crackdown leaves ETA weakened

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Crossborder crackdown leaves ETA weakened


ETA has not carried out a deadly attack in Spain since July last year when a car bomb parked outside a police station on the Balearic island of Majorca claimed the lives of two officers.

The ceasefire announcement comes after the arrests of numerous Eta leaders has left the separatist group weaker than ever.

There is also a shifting landscape inside the Basque nationalist community over policy.

In the past two years, 14 key ETA chiefs were picked up by security forces.

It was in Cahan, Normandy in northern France where the group’s military leader Ibon Gogeascoetxea was arrested last February after 13 years on the run.

France had long been a base for ETA militants but the group broke its own rule not to engage in any conflict with French police in March.

One officer was shot dead when his patrol fired on suspected ETA rebels at the scene of a car robbery.

French authorities vowed to crackdown on the separatist group so ETA tried to set up a base in Portugal.

But their efforts were thwarted by a counter-terror operation with Portuguese police seizing 1500 kilos in Obidos, near Lisbon.

The mastermind behind the move was Mikel Carrera Sarobe, the last of the suspected ETA generals to be picked up by French police.

His arrest in Bayonne the French Basque country in May left the organistation rudderless.

Meanwhile, ETA has been wracked by internal divisions.

Eight former members detained in this jail in Nanclares de Oca in Spain’s Basque Country publicly renounced the group’s strategy of terror to achieve their dream of independence.

Political support for the group is also on the wane.

The banned Batasuna party has distanced itself from ETA violence, aiming to win more widespread support.

It has teamed up with the legal pro-independence party, Basque Solidarity, ahead of regional elections next year.

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