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Suspected head of Basque separatist group seized in France

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Suspected head of Basque separatist group seized in France

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Izaskun Lesaka, believed to be one of the three leading figures of the Basque separatist group ETA, has been arrested in France.

The 47-year-old was seized by French police along with another unnamed member of the organisation.

The pair were arrested in a hotel in Maçon 70 kilometres north of Lyon. Both were armed. Lesaka has been on the run since 2005. Their arrests follow a number of others and are part of a joint operation to crack down on the group.

Despite an announcement last October when the group said it would cease all armed action no weapons have been handed over and discoveries of arms caches are still being made.

ETA has killed over 800 people in 40 years.

In December 2006 the group targeted Terminal Four of Madrid-Barajas airport with a bomb concealed in a van. Two people were killed and 52 injured in the bombing which destroyed the terminal’s entire parking area.

It was one of the group’s most powerful attacks and ended a nine-month ceasefire.

Spain’s government insists the group disband and hand over all weapons.