Three ETA suspects seized in ski resort

19th August 2009, Comments 0 comments

Three armed alleged members of the Basque separatist group ETA were arrested Wednesday in the French Alps.

Lyon – French anti-terrorist officers arrested three armed alleged members of the Basque separatist group ETA in the French Alps on Wednesday, an official connected to the investigation told AFP.

The three men were seized in a pre-dawn raid on an apartment at the ski resort of Le Corbier Villarambert in Savoie. They were found in possession of handguns and false identity papers.

Around 20 heavily-armed officers from the RAID special weapons squad, backed up by detectives from Lyon, stormed the flat just before dawn and surprised the suspects sleeping.

"They had no time to resist," a judicial official told AFP.

The operation was carried out after several months of inquiries by French anti-terror police in cooperation with the Spanish security service, officials said. There was no immediate comment from Paris or Madrid.

According to the Spanish news agency Vasco Press, one of those arrested is thought to be Aitzol Etxaburu, an alleged leading member of ETA's military wing and one of Spain's most wanted men.

The second, according to the report, is thought to be Alberto Machain, one of six alleged ETA militants whose photo was published by the Spanish interior ministry on 31 July following a bomb attack in Palma.

The third is reportedly another militant called Andoni Sarasola.

Founded half a century ago, ETA is blamed for the deaths of 828 people in its violent campaign for an independent Basque homeland in part of northern Spain and southwest France.

ETA figures on several terrorist blacklists, including those of the European Union and the United States.

AFP / Expatica

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