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3 suspected Basque members arrested in France

Police have arrested three suspected members of the Basque separatist organization ETA, including a man thought to be the group's leader, in southern France, French and Spanish authorities said Saturday.

Police have arrested three suspected members of the Basque separatist organization ETA — including a man thought to be the group's leader — in southern France, French and Spanish authorities said Saturday.

One of the three people arrested was identified as Jurdan Martitegi Lizaso, ETA's current military chief, according to Spain's Interior Ministry.

The apprehensions in Montauriol, in the Pyrenees Orientales region of France, are just the latest in a string of arrests of suspected ETA members.

With Saturday's three arrests, five suspected ETA militants have been arrested in 10 days, said the French Interior Ministry.

They include Ekaitz Sirvent Auzmendi, who was arrested a week ago as he brandished a .357 Magnum revolver on a crowded Paris railway platform.

On Dec. 8, the previous suspected leader, Aitzol Iriondo, was arrested in southern France three weeks after his alleged predecessor, Mikel de Garikoitz Aspiazu, alias Txeroki, was caught in France.

ETA has been waging a violent campaign since the late 1960s for an independent Basque state bordering northern Spain and southwest France.

With files from The Associated Press

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