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Spanish police arrest eight suspected ETA allies: reports

Spanish police have arrested eight people, including two lawyers, in an operation against an outlawed youth organisation linked to armed separatists ETA, Spanish media reported Thursday.

Six suspected members of the clandestine Segi organization, used as a “recruiting ground” by ETA, were detained in the northern cities of Bilbao, Pamplona and Vitoria, the online edition of daily newspaper El Mundo said.

Two lawyers who defend ETA members, Haritz Escudero and Haizea Ziluaga, were also detained as part of the operation, it added.

Escudero was arrested at a hotel in Lanzarote in Spain’s Canary Islands where he was on holiday, El Mundo and other media outlets said.

Ziluaga was picked up as she left a jail at Aranjuez, just south of Madrid, where she had been visiting a client.

Spanish police accuse Segi and other radical Basque youth groups of urban unrest, throwing Molotov cocktails at symbols of Spain such as the post office, banks and political party offices.

The authorities consider them to be support groups for ETA.

ETA is blamed for the deaths of 829 people in more than 40 years of bombings and shootings as part of their campaign to force the creation of a Basque homeland in northern Spain and southwestern France.

In 2007 Spain’s Supreme Court declared Segi to be a terrorist group over its suspected ties to ETA.

Spanish police arrested 14 suspected members of Segi in October and in November 2009 they arrested another 36 suspected members of the group.

“We are not going to allow ETA to rebuild its youth team,” Interior Minister Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba said following the October arrests.

“Every time ETA rebuilds its youth team the police will take action and that youth team will never make it to the main team. That must be clear,” he added.