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French police arrest 'Eta leader'
Mikel Sarobe detained along with two members of banned Basque group in Bayonne.
Last Modified: 20 May 2010 08:16 GMT
Co-operation between Madrid and Paris is said to have led to the recent arrest of senior Eta leaders [AFP]

The suspected military leader of Eta, the armed Basque separatist movement, has been arrested, French police say.

Two other suspected Eta members - also Spanish nationals -  were arrested along with Mikel Kabikoitz Karrera Sarobe, the man thought to be Eta's current military chief.

The arrest took place during dawn raids on Thursday in the southwestern French city of Bayonne.

According to reports, all three were picked up in the southern town of Bayonne and the fourth in a nearby village.

Five Eta leaders have been arrested in France in the last two years.

Security forces believe Eta has killed more than 850 people in its campaign for independence for the Basque Country in northwestern Spain.

But in recent years the movement has been severely weakened by hundreds of arrests.

The increase in the number of arrestsis said to be due to improved co-ordination between the authorities in Spain and France, which Eta has long used as a hideout.

Eta, whose initials stand for Euskadi ta Askatasuna, or Basque Homeland and Freedom in the Basque language, is considered a "terrorist" group by Spain, the European Union and the US.

For four decades the group has waged a bloody campaign for independence for the seven regions in northern Spain and southwest France that Basque separatists claim as their own.

Source:
Agencies
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