US places longtime Basque leader on terror list

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US authorities Thursday placed longtime Basque separatist leader Jose Antonio Urrutikoetxea, better known by his alias Josu Ternera, on Washington's list of persons supporting global terrorism, officials said.

The State Department said that as a result of the designation, "all property subject to US jurisdiction" in which Ternera has any interest "is blocked, and any assets he may have under US jurisdiction are frozen."

US nationals "are prohibited from engaging in any transactions with him. This action will help stem the flow of financial and other assistance to this ETA leader," the State Department said.

The statement said that as a long term leader of the Basque group ETA, "his engagement in terrorist activities such as murder, bombings, recruiting, training, and providing logistical support for a terrorist organization, constitute a threat to US interests."

Ternera "is wanted for terrorism and the murder of 11 people," and "has played a decisive role in ETA's terrorist activities for decades, both from prison, where he spent more than 10 years, and for more than a decade as a fugitive from justice."

Ternera is thought to have taken part in ETA's assassination in 1973 of Admiral Luis Carrero Blanco, who was prime minister under dictator Francisco Franco, in a car bombing in Madrid.

ETA, whose initials stand for Euskadi ta Askatasuna, or Basque Homeland and Freedom in the Basque language, is designated a terrorist organization by the United States and the European Union.

ETA has killed over 800 people in bombings and shootings in its 40-year campaign.

© 2011 AFP

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