French police uncover ETA weapons and explosives stash

French police, acting on a tip-off from Spanish authorities, have found a large stash of explosives and weapons in southern France, only a day after arresting three suspected ETA members and uncovering another cache of explosives.


Reuters - Police found a large stash of arms and explosives in southern France on Thursday that probably belonged to the Basque separatist group ETA, the Paris prosecutor’s office said.


The discovery and two more finds on Wednesday together made up the largest arms find in France since 2002.


French police, who were acting on a tip-off from Spanish authorities, found the arms, detonators and explosives near a village in the Mediterranean Herault department.


On Wednesday, French police arrested three suspected members of ETA in the Alpine resort of Villarembert-le-Corbier.


One of the detainees, Alberto Machain Beraza, was on a list of six wanted ETA suspects issued by the Spanish government on July 31, the day after a car bomb killed two Spanish Civil Guards on the island of Mallorca.


Four hand guns, ammunition, a hundred detonators and false papers and car number plates were also found in the resort.


Another cache, containing 100 kg of the explosive ammonium nitrate, was discovered on Wednesday in the French Pyrenees.


ETA has carried out three large bombings in Spain in the last two months, in what analysts believe is an attempt to demonstrate that it is still active despite hundreds of arrests.


There have also been reports of growing differences within the guerrilla group between hardliners and others who would prefer peace talks.


ETA has been blamed for more than 800 deaths in the past 40 years in its campaign to carve out an independent Basque homeland in northern Spain and southern France.

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