Key dates in ETA history

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Key dates in the history of the armed Basque separatist group ETA which Sunday declared a ceasefire in its 42-year campaign of bombings and shootings for a homeland independent from Spain:

- July 31, 1959: ETA is formed during the dictatorship of general Francisco Franco by a group of Basque nationalist students.

- June 7, 1968: ETA shoots and kills the police chief of the Basque coastal city of San Sebastian in the first deadly attack for which it claimed responsibility. The Spanish government however recently dated the first attack to June 27, 1960, when an incendiary bomb exploded in a station in San Sebastian and killed a baby.

- December 20, 1973: Admiral Luis Carrero Blanco, Franco's prime minister and presumed successor, is killed instantly when his car drives over explosives planted by ETA in Madrid, sending the vehicle high into the air.

- October 15, 1977: Spain's government declares an amnesty for all political prisoners, including jailed ETA members, two years after Franco's death.

- June 19, 1987: ETA stages its deadliest bombing, killing 21 shoppers at a Barcelona supermarket parking lot and injuring 45 others.

- June 12, 1997: ETA shoots and kills a conservative Popular Party town councillor in the Basque country, two days after he was abducted. His killing prompts millions of Spaniards to take to the streets in protest.

- November 17, 2008: ETA's charismatic leader Garikoitz Aspiazu Rubina, alias "Txeroki", is arrested in France. His arrest is followed by the quick detention of his two successors, Aitzol Iriondo Yarza and Jurdan Martitegi.

- July 30, 2009: Two police officers are killed after a bomb detonates under their patrol car on the holiday island of Majorca in the last deadly attack carried out by ETA in Spain.

- September 5, 2010: ETA announces that "several months ago it took the decision not to carry out offensive military actions".

© 2010 AFP

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