Spanish PM hails seizures of ETA arms caches

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Spain's prime minister Friday hailed the discovery of ETA weapons caches in France as the "biggest material blow" the Basque separatist group had suffered in recent years.

"biggest material blow" the Basque separatist group had suffered in recent years.

Since last week, French and Spanish police have unearthed 14 underground weapons dumps in France, containing hundreds of kilogrammes of explosives as well as guns and ammunition.

The seizures followed the arrest of three suspected ETA militants in an Alpine flat in France on August 19.

"It is possibly the biggest material blow to ETA in recent years", Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero said Friday.

He said that 62 ETA suspects have been detained in the past year, 25 of them in France.

"All of them are responsible for counterfeiting operations, the military and intelligence apparatus," said Zapatero.

But he warned that ETA "retains its ability and willingness to kill.

"So we will not rest, we will not waver even for a moment, we will continue weakening ETA on all fronts."

ETA is blamed for the deaths of 828 people in its decades-long campaign for an independent Basque homeland in parts of northern Spain and southwestern France.

The group has tended to concentrate its attacks on Spanish targets while its militants use France as a rear base to hide out and rearm. In recent years French officials have arrested several senior suspects.

It appears on several terrorist blacklists, including those of the European Union and the United States.

AFP / Expatica

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