Suspected ETA member arrested in France: Spanish media

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French police arrested a suspected member of the armed Basque separatist group ETA Thursday after he stole a car, Spanish public television reported.

Police detained the unidentified man after a short chase in the town of Saint Mexant in France's central region of Limousin, it said.

He identified himself as a member of ETA after his arrest and was found to be carrying a gun, the television station said.

Spanish radio said French police were looking for two other people who were with him at the time but managed to escape arrest.

For the past four decades ETA has been fighting a bloody campaign for an independent Basque homeland carved out from northern Spain and southwest France.

It is listed as a banned terrorist group by the European Union and has been held responsible for the deaths of 829 people during its on-again, off-again campaign of gun and bomb attacks on mainly Spanish targets.

ETA has traditionally used France as a safe rear-base for attacks on Spain, but in recent years the two EU allies have strengthened cross-border police cooperation and cracked down on the group.

The outfit frequently used stolen cars in their attacks, either as get-away vehicles or as car bombs.

© 2010 AFP

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