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Twelve Arrested in Crackdown on ETA Extortion Operations


A total of 12 people have been arrested in Spain and France in a crackdown on illegal financing of the Basque separatist group ETA.

Authorities say the raids were aimed at dismantling the group's extortion operations. ETA has been funded by what it calls a "revolutionary tax" extorted from businesses in the region for the past 20 years.

Police say among those arrested was Julen Madariaga, one of the founders of ETA.

The arrests were carried out by a joint Spanish-French task force overseen by a judge in each country. Police detained five of the suspects on the Spanish side of the border and seven in France.

ETA has killed more than 800 people during its 38-year armed campaign for a separate, independent Basque state in northern Spain and southwestern France.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.

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