News / Europe

ETA Suspects Detained in France, Spain

In this image taken from video, masked members of the militant Basque separatist group ETA declare a permanent cease-fire in a video distributed to Spanish media, Jan 10, 2011
In this image taken from video, masked members of the militant Basque separatist group ETA declare a permanent cease-fire in a video distributed to Spanish media, Jan 10, 2011

Spanish and French police have detained two suspected ETA members in a joint operation, a day after the armed Basque separatist group declared a permanent cease-fire.

Officials said Tuesday, Iraitz Guesalaga was arrested in the southern French town of Ciboure, and his girlfriend, Itxaso Urtiaga, was detained across the Spanish border in the beach town of Zarautz.

Guesalaga is suspected of being a computer expert for ETA.

On Monday, ETA declared a permanent cease-fire that it said can be internationally verified. The group said it is firmly committed to ending armed confrontation, but made no mention of disbanding or giving up its weapons.

Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero rejected ETA's cease-fire, saying the group's only choice is to disband. He said there will be no talks with ETA.

ETA has killed more than 800 people in its four-decade campaign for Basque independence in northern Spain and southern France.

Spain, the European Union and the United States all consider ETA a terrorist group.

ETA has been weakened in recent months because of a stepped-up Spanish and French police crackdown and a loss of support by Batasuna, its outlawed political wing. Batasuna is urging ETA to give up its weapons so the party can be allowed to take part in Basque regional elections.

ETA has declared other cease-fires that lasted for a few months at most.

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