French police catch ETA suspect

A suspected senior member of the armed Basque separatist movement ETA is back in custody in southwest France, one year after an audacious escape.

    Fernandez Iradi captured in France once again

    Police seized Ivon Fernandez Iradi on Thursday in the town of Mont-de-Marsan.

    Iradi and a second, as yet unnamed, ETA member did not resist arrest - although both men were armed.
      
    Police seized weapons, documents and a computer from their apartment, where they also arrested a woman also believed to be a possible separatist. 
      
    Iradi had been sought by police since he escaped from custody in the southwestern city of Bayonne in December last year by squeezing out through his cell's skylight window.

    But security services said they only identified the three persons held after they were arrested.
     
    They are being remanded in custody in Mont-de-Marsan, amid tight security. 
      
    Reaction

    Spanish Interior Minister Angel Acebes immediately congratulated French police on the "large-scale operation" that led to the arrests.
      
    He described the suspect as "one of the top figures in the ETA terrorist organisation who was largely in charge of commando operations, that is to say the head of the assassins, commandos who commit attacks, those who stage car bombing."
      
    Acebes added that since his escape, Iradi had been reincorporated into the ETA leadership with responsibilities similar to those he held earlier. 
      
    Also known under the alias Susper, he is accused of being a member of the so-called "Buruntza" or "Donosti" cell and of seriously wounding a French police officer in November 2001. 
      

    Police authorities have also blamed the Donosti commando group for an abortive attack in January 2001 against Spain's ruling Popular Party. 
      
    30 year campaign

    ETA's armed campaign for a separate homeland in northern Spain and southwestern France has left an estimated 800 people dead over the past three decades.
      
    At the time of Fernandez Iradi's initial arrest - three days before his escape - he was to have been transferred to Paris with seven other alleged ETA members.
      
    His escape led Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy to order the suspension of five officers from the Bayonne police station.

    SOURCE: Reuters


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    'If she never remembered me again': Loving someone with dementia

    'If she never remembered me again': Loving someone with dementia

    'I imagined there were thousands of such thoughts in that room, clinging to the ceiling like helium balloons.'

    What it means to love a dead child

    What it means to love a dead child

    You must forget all you thought you knew about grief when the landscape of your life has been demolished.

    'Butchered': The Kenyan FGM clinic serving Europeans

    'Butchered': The Kenyan FGM clinic serving Europeans

    Kenya banned FGM in 2011, but Europeans still bring their daughters to underground clinics there to be cut.