Friday, April 10, 2009

France Detains Suspected ETA Leader in Paris

Via Yahoo! News -

French police said Friday they had detained a top member of the Basque separatist group, ETA, who was carrying a Magnum handgun and false papers when arrested in Paris.

Ekaitz Sirvent Auzmendi was seized after he got off a high-speed train from Bordeaux in Paris, said police.

Auzmendi is believed to be ETA's number two on the logistics side and one of the movement's five top leaders, said Spanish media, citing Spanish anti-terrorist sources.

On the run since 2002, Auzmendi had been under police surveillance during his rail journey from Bordeaux, in southwest France. Spanish police were present during the arrest, police said.

Spain's interior ministry said in a statement that a laptop computer and a large quantity of computer-equipment including USB keys and hard discs were seized during the arrest.

Auzmendi had also been carrying false French and Spanish identity papers, said the statement.

Spanish investigators believed forging documents was part of his duties for the banned separatist group, said the ministry.

The Spanish daily El Mundo said the arrest was the most important blow against ETA's leadership carried out this year.

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