Three suspected members of the Basque separatist group ETA detained on Saturday are likely to have been in one of the terrorist organisation’s most active cells, according to Spain’s Interior Minister. Police say Asier Borrero, Iurgi Garitagoitia and Itziar Plaza were armed when they were arrested near Pau in South West France. All three are below 30 years of age – a fact not lost on Spain’s interior minister.
Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba said: “It’s not that people are joining ETA at a younger age, they are being arrested sooner.” Their arrests marked the fourth raid on ETA suspects recently – 18 people have been held over the past 22 days. Borrero is alleged to have wounded a French gendarme in a shoot-out at the beginning of June. Garitagoitia is suspected of being involved in the murder of a socialist councillor in Spain’s Basque country in March of last year. Investigators believe Plaza is linked to more than 20 attacks. ETA is accused of killing more than 800 people in a violent campaign for an independent Basque homeland over the past four decades.