A joint operation by French security forces and the Civil Guard in the early hours of Tuesday morning resulted in the arrests of six of Spain’s most-wanted ETA members in various cities across France. According to sources close to the investigation, the detainees formed part of ETA’s logistics apparatus, known as Elosa, among whose functions is the storing of weapons.
Anti-terrorist agents told the Efe news agency that some of the six were responsible for managing weapons caches, although none have yet been uncovered. Two revolvers were seized in the simultaneous raids.
Two of the suspected terrorists, Raúl Aduna Vallinas and Antonio Goikoetxea Gabilondo were detained in Brive-la-Gallairde, south of Limoges. Two others, Ekhiñe Eizagirre Zubiaurre and Kepa Arkauz Zubillaga, were picked up in Blois, southwest of Paris. The remaining two, Igor Uriarte Löpez de Vicuña and Julen Mendizabal Elezcano, were arrested in Montpellier.
No further details about the operation have yet been released but more arrests have not been ruled out. “The nucleus of ETA’s logistics apparatus has been dismantled,” Interior Minister Jorge Fernández Díaz said. “These arrests and the extreme weakness of the organization leaves it facing the inevitable: its dissolution.”
The latest operation against ETA brings the number of arrests to 11 this year, and 43 since the terrorist organization announced a “definitive” end to violence in October 2011.
The arrests also come after a recent meeting between Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and security chiefs to discuss ETA’s ability, and willingness, to carry out an attack. The National Police Corps expressed its opinion that ETA was still operational. An April 25 Europol report stated that the group “maintains its logistical structure and continues to operate as a clandestine organization.”