ETA suspect arrested after gun battle

28th October 2004, Comments 0 comments

29 October 2004, BILBAO -French police arrested a suspected member of the Basque separatist group ETA Friday after a gun battle.

29 October 2004

BILBAO -French police arrested a suspected member of the Basque separatist group ETA Friday after a gun battle.

Two ETA suspects who were being chased in a car in south-west France opened fire on police.

Officers returned fire but no-one was injured.

Shortly afterwards, the Puegeot 307 car the ETA suspects were travelling in crashed.

One suspect, thought to be María Teresa Juarro, 30, was arrested after a chase on foot near the scene of the crashed car.

Police closed off the area and were searching for the second suspect.

The dramatic arrest took place in Bernac-Dessus, near Tarbes, in south-west France.

Meanwhile, hours later in in Bilbao, Spanish police arrested another ETA suspect thought to be involved in the logistics arm of the banned terrorist organisation.

She was named as Amaia Urizar de Paz, 22, who was detained at a house in the city in the early hours of the morning.

The arrest is related to the detention of two other ETA suspects Haritz Totorika and another Ibon Fernández de Iradi, whose alias is Susper.

Totorika, 27, from Bilbao, was expected to appear before a court Friday.

He is suspected of being involved in supporting ETA's armed operations.

Susper was arrested in France in December.

The police operation, which was still underway, came after ETA called Thursday for the opening of a dialogue without prior conditions as a way of ending 35 years of conflict.

The group's violent campaign has cost the lives of some 800 Spanish security forces and civilians plus 200 among the ETA ranks.

"The solution of the conflict" in the Basque country in northern Spain "will come from dialogue, negotiation and understanding," the politico-military organisation said in a statement published in the Basque daily newspaper Gara, which backs the campaign for independence.

"Nobody has the complete formula for the solution...the process of dialogue which will lead to an agreement requires the participation of all the parties," the statement said.

"The only choice is to organise an open and concrete process of dialogue" but one that should not have "prior conditions".

In the statement ETA, which is believed to have suffered a major setback with the arrest earlier this month in France of many of its most senior figures, made no mention of a ceasefire or truce.

It says that the Basque country, which straddles the border with France, is "occupied" and that its people "are suffering a slow and cruel death from France and Spain. The Basque country has no future under Spanish domination or the French yoke."

"The key to the solution of the conflict is the recognition of the right to self-determination of the Basque people," the statement says.

"When our rights are guaranteed and our people recognised the conflict will end."

The ETA statement comes as its banned political wing Batasuna has said it will put forward an alternative to a plan proposed by  moderate Basque nationalists.

This would make the Basque country a region "freely associated with Spain" after a referendum which would take place only if ETA renounced violence.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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