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Spain Arrests 3 More ETA Suspects - 2001-10-19

In the northern Basque region of Spain, police have arrested three more suspected members of the Basque separatist organization, ETA, in an operation that began on Wednesday. These latest suspects allegedly provided important logistical support for terrorist activity.

Spanish police arrested three more members of ETA's main terrorist infrastructure in the town of Eibar near the city of San Sebastian in the Basque province of Guipuzcoa. The raid was part of an operation that began on Wednesday with the arrest of seven principal members of ETA's so-called Aramba commando.

The Spanish Interior Minister, Mariano Rajoy told a news conference Friday that the three latest suspects provided logistical support to the Aramba commando.

They did this, said Mr. Rajoy, by gathering information on potential victims and targets of future terrorist attacks. Police say the suspects provided advance escort to car bombs being taken to their destination, and they provided refuge to members of the commando unit evading pursuit by police.

Spanish police also carried out raids on the homes of three other suspected members of the Aramba commando in the town of Azpeitia. News reports say those suspects managed to escape. In the residence of one of the suspects, police say they found six kilograms of dynamite, a limpet bomb ready to be attached to an automobile, timing devices and other equipment for the planting of bombs.

Meanwhile, the Basque newspaper, "El Correo" reported Friday that French police have discovered ETA's so-called "revolutionary tax" collecting office in the French Basque town of Dax. Police say they found more than $275,000 in cash and accounting information on extortion carried out against Basque businessmen who were under the threat of death. El Correo says French police discovered the office in the residence of the suspected member of ETA, Asier Oyarzábal, who officials say is in charge of the separatist organization's logistic infrastructure. Mr. Oyarzábal was arrested by French police on September 29.

ETA is blamed for killing 12 people this year and more than 800 deaths since it began a campaign in 1968 to establish an independent Basque state carved out of northern Spain and southwestern France.