Four alleged ETA members indicted in Paris

6th September 2007, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Sept 6, 2007 (AFP) - Four alleged members of Basque separatist group ETA, arrested by French and Spanish police in southwest France while allegedly preparing an attack, were indicted in Paris late Wednesday by anti-terrorist judges.

PARIS, Sept 6, 2007 (AFP) - Four alleged members of Basque separatist group ETA, arrested by French and Spanish police in southwest France while allegedly preparing an attack, were indicted in Paris late Wednesday by anti-terrorist judges.

The quartet arrested Saturday in the joint Spanish-French swoop on a house in the town of Cahors included Luis Ignacio Iruretagoyena, who French and Spanish officials said was ETA's chief explosives expert.

The others are Ohian Barandalla Goni, described as the second-in-charge of ETA's paramilitary wing, Ander Mugica Andonegi, who had been hunted since fleeing in a taxi in July when it was stopped by police in Torreblanca, Spain, leaving behind two bags containing detonators and explosives, and a woman named as Alaitz Aramendi Jaunarena, who had been on the run for several years.

All four were indicted for "kidnapping, illegal confinement, making and destruction of explosive substances, armed robbery, possession of stolen goods and possession of arms in an organized band and in relation with a terrorist enterprise."

They were placed in detention and face life imprisonment if found guilty of the charges.
 
Spanish Interior Minister Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba earlier told reporters in Madrid the arrests in southwestern France, during which police also seized explosives and detonators, were of "enormous importance".

They were the culmination of an operation begun when three other ETA suspects were arrested on the French side of the border in July in a vehicle carrying 165 kilos (360 pounds) of explosives, he said.

Rubalcaba added the suspects had played key roles in a bomb attack at Madrid's Barajas airport last December that killed two people.

"To the question 'Were they preparing an attack?' the answer is yes, they were preparing a car bomb," Rubalcaba said.

French deputy prosecutor Jean-Michel Bourles said the house in Cahors, rented by the suspects, contained a workshop capable of making bombs "able to make enormous explosions."

In the past three months, since ETA formally ended its truce in frustration at the lack of progress towards direct peace talks with the government, 22 group members have been detained, 19 of them in ETA's traditional haven, France.

ETA is blamed for 819 killings over a four-decade campaign for the independence of the Basque region of northern Spain and southwest France.

AFP

Subject: French news

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