ETA fingered for theft at French chemical plant
12 October 2007, MADRID (AFP) - Basque ETA militants are most likely to blame for the theft from a French plant of chemicals that could be used to make explosives, Spain's Deputy Prime Minister Maria Teresa Fernandez de la Vega said Thursday.
12 October 2007
MADRID (AFP) - Basque ETA militants are most likely to blame for the theft from a French plant of chemicals that could be used to make explosives, Spain's Deputy Prime Minister Maria Teresa Fernandez de la Vega said Thursday.
Speaking after a weekly cabinet meeting, she said "everything indicates" it was ETA members who broke into the Labema chemical factory in the town of Lorette, near the central eastern city of Saint-Etienne overnight Wednesday.
Spanish and French police were working closely to investigate the theft, she added. Police in Lyon have opened an investigation.
Her comments confirm French suspicions that the armed Basque separatist group was responsible.
"The mode of operation resembles that which is used by ETA members," said a French judicial source said on Thursday.
The theft followed a car bombing Tuesday in the northern Spanish city of Bilbao which seriously injured a bodyguard protecting a local politician that Madrid blames on ETA.
ETA -- listed as a terrorist organisation by the European Union and the United States -- is blamed for 819 deaths during its nearly four decade-long violent struggle for an independent Basque homeland encompassing parts of northern Spain and southwestern France.
The armed group ended a 15-month-old ceasefire in June, after which the Socialist government of Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero -- facing a general election in March 2008 -- adopted a harder line against it.
Subject: French news