Four ETA suspects arrested in Portugal and France

10 January
Four suspected members of the Basque separatist group ETA have been arrested in Portugal and France, officials say.

Police found explosives and weapons in a van as they arrested two of the suspects near Portugal’s border with Spain, Spain’s interior minister said.

The other two were picked up in central France. They were caught with weapons, false number plates and fake documents, officials said.

Eta has waged a 41-year campaign for an independent Basque homeland.

The group has been blamed for more than 820 deaths in that period. It ended its most recent ceasefire in June 2007.

Spanish Interior Minister Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba said the operation that culminated in the arrests near Clermont-Ferrand in France had been started by French authorities several months ago, triggered by a concentration of vehicle thefts attributed to ETA.

Mr Perez Rubalcaba said the man and the woman arrested belonged to ETA’s “logistical-military apparatus” that supplies the group’s militants with explosives and weapons.

Spain raised its terrorism alert level to two on a four-point scale last month before it assumed the six-month presidency of the EU.

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