[QODLink]
Europe
Spain arrests separatist suspects
Police detain nine people suspected of heading up a group linked with Eta, the armed Basque group.
Last Modified: 14 Sep 2010 15:11 GMT
Spain has vowed to crackdown on Basque separatist group Eta, despite the rebels announcing a ceasefire [AFP]

Spanish police have arrested nine people suspected of leading Ekin, a Basque separatist group linked with Eta, the interior ministry says.

The group were captured in pre-dawn raids on Tuesday in the Basque county, Navarra, Cantabria and Aragon.

They marked the first Eta-related arrests since the armed rebel group announced a new ceasefire on September 5.

Francisco Caamano, Spain's justice minister, said the arrests demonstrated "that the government's position has not changed in the fight against Eta".

"Security forces and public prosecutors maintain their determination in the fight against terrorism with rigour and judges continue to apply the law."

The interior ministry said Tuesday's arrests had dismantlyed the core leadership of Ekin, which is seen by the courts as a part of Eta.

Among those detained overnight was Ekin's new leader, Eneko Compains Silva, public radio RNE said.

Eta's decades-long campaign of bombing and shooting for a homeland independent of Spain has claimed more than 800 lives.

Listed as a terrorist group by the European Union and the United States, the group announced a "permanent ceasefire" in March 2006.

But in December 2006 it set off a bomb at a car park at Madrid's airport, killing two men. In June 2007 it formally called off its ceasefire citing a lack of concessions by the government in peace talks.

Since then, the government has taken a hard line against the group and its political wing, Batasuna, arresting dozens of members including the top leadership.

Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, Spain's prime minister, has demanded that Eta give up weapons forever.

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Israel's Operation Protective Edge is the third major offensive on the Gaza Strip in six years.
Muslims and Arabs in the US say they face discrimination in many areas of life, 13 years after the 9/11 attacks.
At one UN site alone, approximately four children below the age of five are dying each day.
Featured
'I'm dying anyway, one piece at a time' said Steve Fobister, who suffers from disabilities caused by mercury poisoning.
The world's newest professional sport comes from an unlikely source: video games.
The group's takeover of farms in Qaraqosh, 30km from Mosul, has caused fear among residents, and a jump in food prices.
Protests and online activism in recent months have brought a resurgence of ethnic Oromo nationalism in Ethiopia.
Chemotherapy is big business, but some US doctors say it could be overused and are pushing for cheaper and better care.
join our mailing list