According to last minute reports in the Spanish press, the two Basques considered to be the leaders of the Spanish Basque terrorist group ETA, Mikel Albisu Iriarte, “Mikel Antza”, and Soledad Iparragirre Genetxea, “Anboto”, have been arrested this morning in southern France, together with 19 other people. Police say they have also recovered an important number of arms as a result of raids which led to the arrests.
According to reports, these latest raids, which have led to 21 arrests, represent the most important operation carried out by authorities against ETA since the famous Bidart raids in 1992.
Mikel Albisu Iriarte and Soledad Iparragirre Genetxea are partners, and have been arrested this morning in Salis-de-Bèarn where they were found with their young child. The other 19 people arrested and charged for belonging to an armed group have been caught in other southern areas of France. At the time of writing, officials still do not consider the operation to have finished.
Meanwhile, as a result of these raids, police have found an important arsenal of weapons, including part of what is thought to be the dinamite robbed some time ago in Grenoble. The French Interior Ministry has said that weapons of war have been found (such as hand granades, machine guns etc) aswell as money.
Over one hundred policemen from different units have participated in this operation.