Basque police hold ETA suspect planning attack

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Police in Spain's Basque Country said they arrested a suspected member of the separatist group ETA early Sunday as he was planning a bomb attack, just hours before regional elections.

MADRID - The suspect had been under surveillance for some time, and police arrested him when they "noticed suspicious actions that could be linked to the preparation of an imminent bomb attack."

The arrest in the Basque town of Billabona took place just hours before polling stations opened in regional elections in the Basque Country.

ETA has condemned the polls, in which two pro-independence were banned from participating due to their links to armed separatist group and its outlawed political wing.

Police also found bomb-making material, including a detonator and explosives of a type often used by ETA, when they searched a home after the arrest.

Police also believe the suspect, whose identity was not revealed, was involved in a January 16 bomb attack on a television relay station in the Basque Country.

The Basque interior ministry are deploying 5,000 police throughout the region for Sunday's elections, or more than half of its entire force of 8,000, amid fears of further ETA attacks.

ETA has been blamed for the deaths of 825 people in a four-decade campaign for an independent Basque homeland straddling northern Spain and part of southwestern France.

AFP/ Expatica

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