Arrested ETA leader ‘denies’ missile link

11th October 2004, Comments 0 comments

MADRID, Oct 10 (AFP) - The alleged political leader of ETA, detained earlier this month, has denied he had a role in purchasing two missiles which were found in the hands of the Basque separatist organization, a Spanish newspaper reported Sunday.

MADRID, Oct 10 (AFP) - The alleged political leader of ETA, detained earlier this month, has denied he had a role in purchasing two missiles which were found in the hands of the Basque separatist organization, a Spanish newspaper reported Sunday.  

Mikel "Antza" Albizu Iriarte told French police he had not taken part in the "purchase of the missiles or their storage" in two towns in southwestern France, in the same region where Iriarte was arrested along with 17 others on October 3.  

Instead, according to Spain's ABC newspaper, he held leaders of ETA's logistics wing responsible for the missiles, saying he knew nothing about how to use the weapons nor what their targets might have been.  

Iriarte's comments are rather unusual, the paper said, since detained ETA suspects usually do not talk to the French police.  

The Spanish interior minister said the two Russian-made ground-to-air missiles were discovered during the major raids in France earlier this month, which officials said severely disabled the separatist organization.  

ETA has campaigned for an independent Basque homeland in Spain and part of France since the late 1960s, leaving more than 800 people dead - but has not staged any major attacks in recent years. 

© AFP

Subject: French News

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