Civil Guard raids capture two wanted ETA members in Gipuzkoa

Pair of suspects believed to have carried out bombing campaign across Spain in 2002

Two suspected ETA members were arrested in early-morning raids Tuesday in the Gipuzkoa localities of Andoain and Urnieta. The Civil Guard said that Jon Lizarribar Lasarte and Rubén Gelbentzu González formed part of the Izarbeltz terrorist cell, which carried out four bombing attacks in 2002 against the University of Navarre, the Corte Inglés department store in Zaragoza and two local businesses in the Basque Country.

The operation was the fruit of analysis of documents seized from several ETA leaders in France. The Civil Guard said the current investigation into the Izarbeltz cell remains ongoing.

Gelbentzu, 35, and Lizarribar, 36, had previously been arrested in 2003 and 2004 respectively and charged with belonging to a terrorist organization. Lizarribar was sentenced to six years in prison by French authorities after being arrested in a stolen vehicle with a firearm and false documents in the southwestern area of Billac. At the time of his arrest a European warrant was in force for his capture.

At his 2007 trial, prosecutors stated he had spent time at several addresses with other ETA members in Limoges, Coulaines and Le Mans, suggesting he was a member of the organization’s logistics network and responsible for harboring terrorists on French soil.

Gelbentzu’s arrest in 2003 was part of a police operation against ETA’s recruitment apparatus. Twelve other suspects were detained in the operation but Gelbentzu was released on bail and ordered to report weekly to court.

Anti-terrorist security sources told Europa Press that the two detainees were not active and did not maintain contact with the organization's hierarchy. ETA declared an end to armed action in October 2011.

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