Spain hails arrest of 'most active' ETA cell
The three ETA suspects belong to one of the most active cells of Basque’s separatist group, says Spain’s interior minister.
Madrid – Spain's interior minister hailed Sunday the chance arrest of three ETA suspects in France, describing them as one of the Basque separatist group's most active cells.
"They were one of the most active ETA groups at present, if not the most active," Alfredo Perez Rubacalba told a press conference in Madrid the day after their arrest near the southern French city of Pau.
Two men, Asier Borrero and Iurgi Garitagoitia, and a woman, Itziar Plaza – all of whom figure on the Spanish Civil Guard's list of most wanted ETA figures – were picked up by chance on Saturday for driving a stolen vehicle.
"They were three important members of the (ETA) military wing," Rubacalba said, adding that computer hardware, money and camping gear had also been seized. All were carrying a firearm when they were arrested.
Rubacalba said Borrero had fired on police in Lozere in southern France on 8 June, leaving one officer injured, and was involved in numerous car bombings and bomb attacks.
He said Plaza was a top figure in the military wing while the two men "were in charge of recruiting commandos" by finding ETA members that did not have any police cases pending against them.
Rubacalba said Iurgi Garitagoitia had been implicated in the murders of Basque businessman Ignacio Uria in December 2008 and of local socialist lawmaker Isaias Carrasco in March 2008.
All three were detained on Saturday in Bayonne awaiting their probable transfer to Paris, police said.
ETA is blamed for the deaths of 826 people in its 40-year campaign to carve a Basque homeland out of northern Spain and southwestern France.
AFP / Expatica