Spain expected to issue extradition order today.
According to the Spanish news channel, Cadenaser, the most wanted member of ETA, Francisco Javier López Peña, known by the name of ‘Thierry’ was detained in Bordeaux by the Spanish Civil Guard yesterday. Three other suspected members of the Basque terrorist organization were also arrested.
The arrests were the result of a joint operation between the French police and the Spanish Civil Guard. Peña had been on the run from police since 1983 and since 1993 he was considered to be one of the leading members of ETA.
This significant blow to the Basque terrorist organization comes after the explosion of a bomb containing 60 kilos of explosives in Getxo, Bilbao yesterday.
‘Thierry’ was responsible for ETA hideouts and the ETA member, Garikoitz Aspiazu, was under his command. He participated in two key meetings between the Spanish government and the terrorist group and it is believed that he was responsible for putting an end to the most recent ETA ceasefire.
The other three members of ETA arrested yesterday were Ainhoa Zaeta Mendiondo, who read out the communication ending the ceasefire on 22nd March 2006, Igor Suberbiola and Jon Salaberría, the ex Batasuna member of parliament for Andoain in Guipuzcoa who had been on the run from police since 2005 after not turning up to court accused of being a member of ETA.
So far this year 75 people have been arrested on suspicion of either being a member of ETA or having connections with it.
Those arrested in yesterday’s operation were armed with handguns and were driving cars with false number plates. The Spanish high court has requested that they be placed in Spanish custody immediately.