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New weapons seizure hits Basque group ETA

New weapons seizure hits Basque group ETA

A string of arrests and weapons seizures by Spanish and French police _including a new one Tuesday _ have dealt a "very big blow" to the Basque separatist group ETA, a Paris prosecutor said.
Spanish and French police found another weapons stash believed to belong to the group Tuesday, bringing to about 900 kilograms (2,000 pounds) the quantity of explosives seized in a week.
A statement from Spain's Interior Ministry said police made the latest find in the southern French town of Cabrerolles, where they seized 190 kilograms (420 pounds) of explosives, 124 detonators, a sub-machinegun and two pistols.
Police also found material used by the group in the French town of Lacaune-les-Bains.
The Spanish ministry says police have uncovered 12 sites allegedly used by ETA to hide weapons and other equipment since Aug. 19, when three suspected members of the group were arrested.
The arrests and arms discoveries "have dealt a very big blow to the logistics" of ETA, Paris Prosecutor Jean-Claude Marin said.
French anti-terrorist police say they have seized 600 kilograms (1320 pounds) of ammonium nitrate, 12 liters (3.17 gallons) of nitromethane, 180 kilograms (395 pounds) of chlorate, 15 suction bombs and 244 detonators.
Investigators say they have also uncovered 18 firearms, six silencers and 4,600 bullets of varying caliber and fake license plates.
Marin said the seizures suggest that ETA members are no longer keeping their weapons in apartments or storage rooms, as in the past, but hiding them in neutral areas such as forests.
"ETA has changed its technique. It prefers the rural environment to the urban one, and small caches to large ones," he said.
Marin did not make a direct link between the weapons and the three people arrested Aug. 19. Investigators are trying to determine who was linked to the arms caches.
A former ETA member barred from entry into France was detained Monday in the town of Hendaye on western France's border with Spain, according to the regional prosecutor's office in nearby Bayonne.
Inaki Telletxea was initially arrested in 2001 in southern France, then convicted in 2003 of terrorist links. He was expelled to Spain in 2005.
ETA has led a campaign for an independent Basque state in parts of northern Spain and southwestern France since 1968, killing more than 825 people.


Updated : 2021-06-17 11:46 GMT+08:00