French police arrest wanted ETA 'member'

5th October 2007, Comments 0 comments

5 October 2007 , MADRID- AFP - French police arrested on Thursday a member of the armed Basque seperatist group ETA who is wanted in Spain, Basque news service Vasco Press reported.

5 October 2007

MADRID- AFP -  French police arrested on Thursday a member of the armed Basque seperatist group ETA who is wanted in Spain, Basque news service Vasco Press reported.

Juan Carlos Iriate, 36, was detained in the town of Hendaya in the French Basque region near the Spanish border, the agency said citing sources from ETA prisoners support group Askatasuna.

Iriate, who is from the northeastern Spanish city of San Sebastian, is wanted in Spain for belonging to an armed group and cooperation with ETA.

He was arrested in San Sebastian in January 1992 as part of an operation by Spanish police which smashed an ETA commando unit called "Leizaran".

Iriate was found guilty of cooperation with an armed group and remained in jail until January 2005 when he was released after serving half his sentence.

Spain's highest court in 2006 issued a warrant for his arrest after an investigation concluded that he had cooperated again with ETA.

Spain's Socialist Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero has taken a hardline against ETA since the armed group broke a ceasefire it declared in March 2006 with a bombing of Madrid's airport in December that killed two men.

Spanish police on Tuesday detained two members of Batasuma, ETA's banned political wing, including its international spokesman Joseba Alvarez.

ETA officially called off its ceasefire in June and resumed attacks in August with a car bombing outside police barracks in the northern city of Durango that injured two officers.

The group has killed more than 800 people in four decades of armed struggle for independence of Basque territories which they say include parts of northern Spain and southwest France.

The question of regional autonomy and the "Basque problem" are becoming major campaign themes for the March 2008 legislative elections.

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Subject: Spanish news

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