Suspected Basque separatist group head captured in France

May 21st, 2008 - 7:04 am ICT by admin  

Madrid, May 21 (DPA) French police have detained Francisco Javier Lopez Pena, alias Thierry, believed to be the leader of the militant Basque separatist group ETA, Spanish police said overnight. Lopez Pena and three other suspected ETA members were arrested near Bordeaux, France.

Lopez Pena went underground in 1983. He is believed to have ordered ETA to end its 14-month ceasefire in June 2007, and to be responsible for numerous attacks.

The Spanish government has cracked down on ETA since its attempt at a peace process with the group collapsed in late 2006. Dozens of suspected ETA members or collaborators have been detained.

ETA has killed about 830 people in its four-decade armed campaign for a sovereign Basque state. The most recent victim, police officer Juan Manuel Pinuel, died last week in a car bombing.

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