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Europe
France arrests three Eta suspects
Police detain three men and seize stash of bomb-making materials in dawn raid.
Last Modified: 19 Aug 2009 15:14 GMT
Alberto Machain Beraza is on the Spanish government's wanted list [AFP]

French police have arrested three men suspected of being members of Eta, the Basque separatist group, and seized bomb-making materials, officials said.

Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba, Spain's interior minister, said the trio were all "top members of the military apparatus" of Eta, responsible for "supplying arms, ammunition and explosives" to fighters.

Police found weapons, fake identity papers and computers in a dawn raid on an flat in the Alpine resort of Corbier-Villarembert on Wednesday.

Rubalcaba said police also uncovered about 20 explosive devices and 42 detonators, and an additional stash of similar material at a hideout in Ferrieres, about 40km from the Spanish border.

He named one of the detained as Alberto Machain Beraza, who has been on a wanted list since a bomb attack last month on the Spanish island of Mallorca in which two police officers died.

The other two were named as Andoni Sarasola and Aitzol Etxaburu. The Spanish authorities believe Etxaburu has ties with Mikel de Garikoitz Aspiazu, a suspected Eta chief arrested in November in France.

Rubalcaba said there was "no evidence" linking any of the three to the Mallorca bombing or another attack in the northern town of Burgos at the end of July which hurt more than 60 people.

Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, Spain's prime minister, said the arrests were ""a new demonstration of the strength and effectiveness of the fight against terrorism".

"We will continue to eradicate this unacceptable and intolerable stain of violence and terror," he said.

Eta, which was formed 50 years ago, is blamed for the deaths of 828 people in its campaign for an independent Basque homeland in part of northern Spain and southwest France.

Source:
Agencies
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