Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

BUSINESS DAILY

Rising into the ranks of Haute Couture

Read more

DEBATE

Gaza: How to Stop the Spiral? Israel Readies For Ground Offensive

Read more

DEBATE

Gaza: How to Stop the Spiral? Israel Readies For Ground Offensive (part 2)

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

A thin line between fact-checking and propaganda in Gaza social media coverage

Read more

#THE 51%

Sweden: A Feminist's Paradise?

Read more

FOCUS

Ireland's missing babies cast light on dark history

Read more

WEB NEWS

World Cup 2014: Germany-Brazil inspires the Web

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Boutros-Ghali: 'I wanted to reform the UN'

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

57 000 little problems

Read more

  • Video: Palestinians fear full Israeli military offensive in Gaza

    Read more

  • Video: Living in Tel Aviv, under threat of rocket attack

    Read more

  • Manhunt as FIFA partner flees Rio hotel to avoid arrest

    Read more

  • US prepared to negotiate Gaza ceasefire, Obama says

    Read more

  • French companies will have to accept anonymous CVs

    Read more

  • Ukrainian forces close in on Donetsk

    Read more

  • Germany asks US intelligence station chief to leave country

    Read more

  • UN chief Ban Ki-moon appoints new Syria mediator

    Read more

  • Video: Muslims in China confront obstacles to Ramadan fasting

    Read more

  • Tour de France passes WWI Chemin des Dames battlefield

    Read more

  • Senegalese man awarded French visa in gay marriage debate

    Read more

  • Argentina beat Netherlands on penalties to reach World Cup final

    Read more

  • Foiled French jihadist ‘targeted Louvre and Eiffel Tower’

    Read more

  • Obama in Texas to urge congressional action on child migrant crisis

    Read more

  • Iraq’s heritage 'in danger' from ISIS militants

    Read more

Police arrest suspected new ETA chief

©

Video by James CREEDON

Latest update : 2008-12-09

In a joint Franco-Spanish operation, three suspected members of ETA were arrested on Monday in southwestern France, among them the man thought to have taken over from ETA's former military chief "Txeroki", detained last month on terrorism charges.

AFP - French anti-terrorism police on Monday arrested the suspected military chief of the Basque separatist group ETA, just weeks after capturing his alleged predecessor "Txeroki," the interior ministry said.
   
The suspect was picked up on a street in the village of Gerde in southwest France around 6:00 pm (1700 GMT) together with two other ETA suspects. They were carrying revolvers and fake documents.
   
French police moved in on the three men after receiving a tip-off from domestic intelligence services.
   
Spanish police later detained three people in connection with the arrests in France, Spanish media said.
   
The three were arrested at a highway tollbooth at the town of Irun near the French border as they were returning from a meeting with ETA's suspected military leader Aitzol Iriondo Yarza, Spain's TVE television said on its website. It said the operation was continuing.
   
French Interior Minister Michele Alliot-Marie said the arrests showed France's "resolute commitment in the fight against Basque terrorism" and congratulated the officers involved in the operation.
   
The interior ministry said in a statement that one of them "had already been identified as the alleged successor to Txeroki as ETA military chief."
   
Miguel de Garikoitz Aspiazu Rubina, known as "Txeroki" or Cherokee, was arrested on November 17 in the French Pyrenees spa resort of Cauterets and charged with terrorism offences.
   
Alliot-Marie phoned Spanish Interior Minister Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba to give him the news and at a press conference in Madrid, Rubalcaba identified the main suspect arrested Monday as Aitzol Iriondo Yarza.
   
He is thought to have replaced Txeroki as head of ETA's military wing, Rubalcaba told reporters, adding: "He could be linked to the killing in Capbreton."
   
In December 2007, two undercover Spanish police officers were killed in Capbreton, in France's southwestern Landes region, by suspected ETA gunmen.
   
Two of the alleged killers were arrested a few days after the attack, but the third assailant escaped and has never been identified.
   
A judge in Paris last month charged Txeroki with having helped prepare the killings, but not with murder.
   
Rubalcaba also linked Iriondo to the killing of a Basque businessman on Wednesday.
   
The victim, Ignacio Uria Mendizabal, 71, was the head of a company, Altuna y Uria, involved in the construction of a high-speed rail network in the region -- a project opposed by ETA.
   
"It is not too bold to say that either Txeroki or Aitzol Iriondo was behind the order" to kill Uria, Rubalcaba added.
   
He warned ETA that any replacement for Iriondo would be hunted down.
   
"I don't know if any terrorist is thinking of taking over from Aitzol Iriondo, (but) I can assure them that, from this moment, we are looking for you," he said.
   
Iriondo is the third top leader of ETA to be arrested this year.
   
Aside from Txeroki, Javier Lopez Pena, the group's presumed overall leader, was arrested in the French city of Bordeaux in May in an operation that Spanish officials at the time boasted had "decapitated" the organisation.
   
France and Spain have stepped up cooperation to crack down on ETA since a special accord was signed in January allowing Spanish agents to operate in southwestern France.
   
ETA has been waging a 40-year campaign for an independent Basque homeland which has left more than 820 people dead.
   
Spanish police believe Txeroki, currently being held in a Paris jail, is connected to all the major ETA operations carried out since late 2003 when he took over the outfit's military operations.
   
That includes the Madrid airport bomb attack in December 2006 that killed two Ecuadorian men and led the Socialist government of Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero to end its tentative peace talks with ETA.
   
Once a safe haven for Basque militants, France began arresting ETA suspects after the group called off a 15-month-old ceasefire in June 2007.
   
At least 36 people who were either ETA members or linked to the group have been arrested in France since the beginning of the year, according to French interior ministry figures.
  

Date created : 2008-12-09

Comments

COMMENT(S)