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Police arrest five ETA members in dawn raids

2 November 2004

BILBAO-Police arrested five suspected members of the Basque terrorist group ETA Tuesday as several leading members of the organization called on its members to end the armed struggle.

The arrests were made on the same day that the Diario de Noticias newspaper published a letter by six jailed ETA members urging the group’s members to lay down their arms.

The arrests were carried out in the northern city of Bilbao in the early hours of the morning.  

Anti-terrorist police named the arrested suspects as Iker Andieza Arceluz Angiozar, 26, Miguel de Garikoitz Urizar Elorza,  27, and Gorka Rivadulla Mediero, 27, Oskar Pérez, 30, and 27-year-old Nagore Etxeberria.

Pérez and Etxeberria were said to be part of the group’s support mechanism.

The arrests come after the arrest of ETA member Amaia Urizar de Paz, who was detained in Bilbao Friday.

Urizar, was the girlfriend of the military head of the terrorist group, Mikel Garikoitz Aspiazu.

The latest series of arrests come as a result of documents seized after the arrest in December 2003 of the ex-leader of ETA Ibon Fernández de Iradi in south-west France.

Meanwhile, six leading ETA prisoners have called for an end to the armed struggled, it was reported Tuesday.

In a letter from the prisoners, reported in the Basque newspaper Diario de Noticias, they said ETA had never been in a worse position.

In recent weeks ETA has suffered a series of important setbacks, in particular the arrests of its political leader and his partner – who was in charge of armed operations – during a major police operation in south-west France.

The prisoners who are reported to have signed the letter are Iñaki Arakama Mendia, Francisco Mujika Garmendia, Iñaki Bilbao Beaskoetxea, Carlos Almorza Arrieta, Kepa Solana Arrondo and Koldo Aparicio Benito.

They said: “The armed struggle that we developed does not work.”

It is the first letter in which ETA prisoners have admitted that the Basque separatist organisation is unable to achieve its aims.

Police sources have said the letter is more significant because it dated August 2004, weeks before the most important arrests of ETA members began.

It reads: “You cannot make an armed struggle on the basis of threats which you do not carry out.

“You cannot develop an armed struggle when you are so vulnerable to repression.”

The writers added: “The incapacity to carry out the armed struggle and impossibility of building up armed forces makes us want to change the strategy which we have defended until now.”

“We think that if we cannot take the bull by the horns, we will start a degenerative process which will affect our political aims.”

They said as the terrorist attacks did not work, they supported mass struggle. 

The prisoners signed the letter as part of an internal debate on where the terrorist group should go next.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news