Saturday, November 5, 2016

Leader of Basque terrorist group ETA detained in France

French police in collaboration with Spain's Civil Guard detained early Saturday the alleged leader of Basque terrorist group ETA, security sources told EFE.

Mikel Irastorza was detained as part of a police operation in Ascain in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques department of southern France.

French officials said a 59-year-old Spanish man and a 56-year-old French woman had also been arrested during the operation to detain Irastorza.

All three were taken to judiciary police offices in the nearby town of Bayonne.

As part of an operation against the organization's leadership, Irastorza _ who, according to Spain's Ministry of the Interior, could be tasked with carrying out the highest responsibilities within the group _ was arrested at a house in the French commune, along with a couple.

Following the detention of ETA leaders David Pla and Iratxe Sorzabal in France in Sept. 2015, security forces have considered Irastorza to be the group's leader.

A recent operation against the terrorist group saw members of the Spanish Civil Guard uncover a hideout in France of some 145 weapons, which the authorities believe belonged to the organization.

Further detentions were expected to take place over the coming hours, authorities indicated, as the operation continued.

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