- Title: FRANCE: French police arrest ETA military leader 'Ata'
- Date: 21st May 2010
- Summary: DAMMARIE-LES-LYS, FRANCE (FILE - MARCH 17, 2010) (REUTERS) (NIGHT SHOTS) ROAD SIGN FOR DAMMARIE-LES-LYS VARIOUS POLICE NEAR SITE OF SHOOTING OF POLICEMAN BY ETA SQUAD USED CAR LOT WHERE ETA SQUAD STOLE VEHICLES VARIOUS POLICE IN CAR LOT VARIOUS EXTERIORS DAMMARIE POLICE STATION, WHERE SLAIN POLICEMAN WORKED
- Embargoed: 5th June 2010 13:00
- Location: France
- Country: France
- Topics: Crime / Law Enforcement
- Reuters ID: LVA3G3T4R6NB4D74DFYYU5XKBDVR
- Aspect Ratio:
- Story Text: French police arrest ETA military leader 'Ata', one of the most senior figures of the Basque guerilla organisation.
French police said they arrested the suspected military leader of the Basque separatist movement ETA in the southwestern town of Bayonne on Thursday (May 20).
Spanish national Mike Kabikoitz Karrera Sarobe, known as Ata, was detained along with another man and a woman from the group during a raid on an apartment, police said. They also found weapons.
He has been considered the military leader of ETA since French police arrested his predecessor Igon Ggeaschoechea in February.
The group is suspected of being behind the murder of French policeman Jean-Serge Nerin near Paris in March -- the first French security official to be killed in France by ETA.
After the killing, French President Nicolas Sarkozy vowed to get rid of all ETA bases and to 'hunt down' its supporters.
"Let nobody imagine that the territory of the French republic can be used as a quiet rear base for terrorists and assassins who kill as ETA demonstrated its capacity to do for decades," the president said.
The arrests were made after a joint investigation by the DCRI French interior security services with the Spanish Guardia Civil and Spanish intelligence service.
Police said the second man arrested was Arkaitz Aguirregabiria del Barrio, 27, who they described as a very violent high-ranking ETA member. Police suspect he was present when the French policeman was killed.
Nerin, 52, was shot while investigating reports for a car theft at a car lot in Dammarie-les-Lys. He and other officers came under fire from people, including a woman, in a second car after they stopped a first car.
A fourth suspected ETA member, of French nationality, was arrested on Thursday in the village of Urrugune, close to the coastal town of Saint-Jean-de-Luz in French Basque country.
Spain's Interior Ministry had no immediate comment.
French and Spanish authorities have arrested several senior ETA members since 2008. Spain's Interior Ministry says Spanish and French police have arrested 50 ETA members this year alone.
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