Suspected ETA leader entered Spain by bicycle

6th April 2007, Comments 0 comments

MADRID, April 4, 2007 (AFP) - The suspected ringleader of an ETA cell who was detained last week as part of a police drive against the Basque separatist movement entered Spain from France by bicycle, a report said Thursday.

MADRID, April 4, 2007 (AFP) - The suspected ringleader of an ETA cell who was detained last week as part of a police drive against the Basque separatist movement entered Spain from France by bicycle, a report said Thursday.

Jose Angel Lerin Sanchez and another suspected member of the cell called "Donosti" peddled their way across the border near the Spanish city of Irun in March 2006, just days before ETA declared a "permanent ceasefire", the Basque news agency Vasco Press reported citing police.

The two brought with them 4,000 euros (5,300 dollars), guns and false documents, it said.

The authorities believe Sanchez was attempting to set up a new ETA cell based around San Sebastian in northern Spain.

The two men are part of a group of nine suspected ETA members remanded in custody since the sweep began on March 28.

Sanchez was charged with membership in a terrorist organisation and possession of explosives among other crimes.

Police have also seized some 170 kilograms (375 pounds) of explosives as well as several weapons in searches carried out in northern Spain, and have located an apartment where ETA's internal newsletter Zutabe was put together as well as the equipment used to print it.

The Spanish government says the operation -- the biggest since ETA's "permanent ceasefire" declaration -- has dismantled the "Donosti" cell which carried out 24 attacks between 2004 and 2006.

The Spanish government stopped the peace process with ETA after the group broke a nine-month ceasefire with a car bomb attack at Madrid airport killing two people in December.

ETA is responsible for 819 deaths in its 38-year campaign to win independence for the Basque region which straddles northern Spain and southwestern France.


Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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