Four held in French raid against ETA

Two further suspects detained after police arrested two alleged leaders on Tuesday

Spanish Interior Minister Jorge Fernández Díaz.
Spanish Interior Minister Jorge Fernández Díaz.ARNO BURGI (AFP)

Interior Minister Jorge Fernández Díaz on Wednesday confirmed that a total of four people have been arrested in the latest raid against ETA in France.

Two further suspects have been detained following the arrest of two alleged leaders of the Basque terrorist group on Tuesday. Speaking in the hallways of Spanish Congress, Fernández Díaz did not provide the identity of the suspects, but did say that the new detainees are the owners of the home where the two alleged ETA bosses were apprehended on Tuesday.

Both suspects arrested on Tuesday are on Spain’s list of most-wanted terrorists

These latter two are thought to be important members of ETA’s logistical leadership, and their arrests come after an investigation lasting over two years, sources familiar with the situation told the news agency Europa Press.

The two leaders are thought to be Joseba Íñaki Reta de Frutos, aka “Zukaitz,” and Javier Goienetxea, aka “Goyele,” both of whom were in charge of managing ETA’s weapons and its hideouts.

Anti-terrorist sources said their identity would not be confirmed until later on Wednesday, when fingerprint tests are conducted.

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The arrests took place inside a home in the French municipality of Ossès, in the southern department of Pyrenées-Atlantiques. The operation was jointly conducted by the Spanish Civil Guard and French Police, according to the Interior Ministry.

Both Joseba Íñaki Reta de Frutos, a 56-year-old explosives expert, and Javier Goienetxea, 35, are on Spain’s list of most-wanted terrorists, and are also among a group of eight individuals who publicly announced in late 2008 that they were planning to return to ETA activities. Reta de Frutos has served prison time on terrorism charges, while Goienetxea fled to France to avoid capture in Spain.

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