World

Spain blames ETA in French police killing

Spain's prime minister on Wednesday blamed the militant Basque separatist group ETA for the shooting death of a French policeman outside Paris, marking the first time officials in France or Spain had linked ETA to Tuesday's killing.

Spain's prime minister on Wednesday blamed the militant Basque separatist group ETA for the shooting death of a French policeman outside Paris.

It was the first time officials in France or Spain had linked Tuesday's shooting to the ETA.

"France has paid a high price for its help against ETA," Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero said at a news conference called to condemn the shooting in the Paris suburb of Dammarie-les-Lys.

Zapatero said he would speak with French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Wednesday, and expressed his condolences to the family of the slain officer.

ETA — which is fighting for an independent Basque state in northern Spain and southwestern France — traditionally uses France as a refuge and staging ground for attacks in Spain.

Spanish media said Tuesday's attack allegedly marked ETA's first killing of a French police officer. ETA has killed more than 825 people since the late 1960s.

French police say a suspect has been detained, and authorities are looking for at least one other assailant.

It was not immediately clear how Tuesday's shooting occurred. French police union member Michel Thooris said officers had been following up on a vehicle theft report and stopped a car to check its registration, at which point assailants in a second car began shooting and killed one officer.

France helps Spain fight ETA by staging joint raids against suspected members, providing intelligence and allowing Spanish officers to operate in southwestern France under a bilateral accord signed in 2008.

Spain and France "are going to maintain a relentless fight against the criminals of the terrorist gang ETA," Zapatero said.

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