Spain arrests ten ETA activists: reports

18th January 2011, Comments 0 comments

Spanish police early Tuesday arrested 10 suspects linked to ETA in the first dragnet since the Basque separatist group declared a permanent cease-fire last week, Spanish media reported.

Police detained six people during the night in the northern Basque region for allegedly trying to reactivate the pro-ETA group Ekin, which authorities had already dismantled in September.

Among the arrests included Iker Moreno Ibanez, son of a former leader of ETA's banned political wing Batasuna, and spokesman for its offshoot group.

The four other arrested people are suspected of providing IT support to the ETA and for their involvement in underground meetings of Ekin as leaders of outlawed ETA-related groups, the media said.

The operation is the first since ETA declared a "permanent and general ceasefire" to be verified by the international community on January 10.

It was the first unilateral declaration of a permanent ceasefire in ETA's campaign of bombings and shootings for a homeland independent of Spain, which has claimed the lives of 829 people.

ETA released a series of statements in September last year proposing an end to violence and calling for international mediation. But the Spanish government dismissed them, insisting on a definitive, verifiable ceasefire without conditions and the group's dissolution.

Spanish authorities believe ETA has been severely weakened after its security forces in cooperation with other countries, particularly France, repeatedly decapitated the group in raids on the leadership. There has been no attack on Spanish soil since August 2009.

© 2011 AFP

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