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French police arrest six ETA suspects

© AFP

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2013-05-07

France’s Interior Minister Manuel Valls said the police arrested six suspected members of the Basque separatist group ETA on Tuesday, in three southern France towns. ETA is considered a terrorist group by the European Union and the United States.

Six suspected members of the Basque separatist group ETA were arrested Tuesday morning during police operations in the towns of Blois, Brive-La-Gaillarde and Montpellier, Interior Minister Manuel Valls said.

“Five of the six suspects were already on the most wanted list,” he said in a statement without adding any further details.

The minister vowed to keep up the “excellent intelligence cooperation between the French and Spanish police until the clandestine and illegal operations stop all together, putting an end to ETA.”

In March 2006, ETA announced a "permanent ceasefire” before calling it off in June 2007, citing frustration with the lack of concessions on the part of the French and Spanish governments in their tentative peace process.

Bombing campaign

ETA is blamed for more than 800 deaths in a four-decade campaign of bombings and shootings for the independence of the Basque homeland, which straddles northern Spain and southwestern France.

In 2008, police arrested the suspected leader of ETA Javier Lopez Pena, who used the alias Thierry. He died in a Paris hospital in March, aged 54.

Considered a terrorist group by the European Union and the United States, ETA announced again in October 2011 that it was giving up its armed struggle, though it has yet to formally disarm.

(FRANCE 24 with wires)

Date created : 2013-05-07

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