Agent killed by ETA trio buried

3rd December 2007, Comments 0 comments

3 December 2007, MADRID - The king and queen of Spain on Sunday attended the funeral for Raúl Centeno, a 24-year-old Civil Guard who was shot dead by three now-fugitive ETA members on Saturday as he walked out of a cafeteria in Capbreton, in the southwest of France.

3 December 2007

MADRID - The king and queen of Spain on Sunday attended the funeral for Raúl Centeno, a 24-year-old Civil Guard who was shot dead by three now-fugitive ETA members on Saturday as he walked out of a cafeteria in Capbreton, in the southwest of France.

Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero and other members of the government and opposition were also present at the funeral in Madrid's La Almudena cemetery.

After the shootings, French police found the car that three members of the Basque separatist group left behind in their flight after shooting Centeno and his partner - currently in a coma - which contained timing devices, detonators and chloratite. The getaway vehicle, a Volkswagen Golf, was found abandoned in Haut-Mauco, also in southwest France, leading investigators to believe that they could be part of a cell getting ready to carry out attacks in Spain during the Christmas period.

French police lost track of the three shooters near Bordeaux, where they let go a woman they had taken hostage, and have since downgraded their search.

Spanish Interior Minister Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba said that the fact that the attack occurred in France proves that the group's "reserve nucleus" is in that country.

The killings mark a turning point for ETA, which has traditionally refrained from committing attacks on French soil. In latter years, France and Spain have been cooperating closely in the fight against the terrorist group.

The government said it will try to prevent Acción Nacionalista Vasca (ANV), a party with ties to ETA, from running in the elections on 9 March. However, Socialist sources said there is no rush to declare an outright ban on a party that systematically fails to condemn ETA's attacks.

A colleague of Centeno's, Fernando Trapero, 23, was also shot but survived, although he remains in a deep coma.

"There are no signs of brain activity," said a doctor at the Côte Basque Hospital in Bayonne.

[Copyright EL PAÍS, SL./ SUSANA URRA / KELLY RAMUNDO 2007]

Subject: Spanish news

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