'Number two' of ETA's military wing is arrested
3 October 2005, PARIS — The suspected number two of the Basque separatist organisation ETA's military operations was arrested in France with two other people.
3 October 2005
PARIS — The suspected number two of the Basque separatist organisation ETA's military operations was arrested in France with two other people.
Spanish interior minister Jose Antonio Alonso said Harriet Aguirre, suspected leader of the ETA's commando groups, was "as such, number two in the military structure" of the organisation.
Also seized were a woman, Idoia Mendizabal, and a third person who was still unidentified, Alonso said.
Several firearms were found, including a grenade-launcher, in the joint operation by French and Spanish police, he added.
The minister called the operation, "very important," stressing that those arrested were "leaders" and not simple footsoldiers for ETA, although he added that "we have no indication they were in the process of preparing an attack".
They were arrested in Aurillac, central France.
The arrests are a new blow to ETA, whose power to stage attacks in pursuit of its drive for an independent Basque country in northwest Spain and southwest France has been weakened in recent months.
They come exactly a year after French police captured the suspected political head of ETA, Mikel Albizu Iriarte, alias Antza, and his partner, Soledad Iparragirre Genetxea, alias Anboto, at Salies-de-Bearn, near the Spanish border.
Iriarte's arrest led to record seizures of ETA weapons, including two ground-to-air Sam-7 shoulder-fired missiles.
According to Spanish intelligence, Iriarte was succeeded as head of ETA by Josu Ternera, a former member of parliament of the organisation's political mountpiece, the now banned Batasuna party.
[Copyright EFE with Expatica]
Subject: Spanish news