Top ETA suspect arrested in Belfast

Last night the Northern Irish police arrested Fermín Vila Michelena, a member of the Madrid ETA cell and one of the Spanish police’s ‘most wanted’ on their list of suspected ETA terrorists. According to sources from Europa Press Vila Michelena was an active terrorist who carried out logistic activities for ETA. The operation which led to his arrest was carried out in collaboration with the Spanish Civil guard.

Born in 1970 in Irún (Guipúzcoa), Vila Michelena was one of the ‘most wanted’ ETA suspects and was at the top of the list of EU terrorist suspects compiled in 2001. He is also on a list of wanted terrorist suspects compiled by the US in 2002.

Before joining ETA Vila Michelena was a member of EKIN, and in charge of EUDIMA (the Basque Association against Military Service) and a member of the ‘disobedience’ project for ETA-EKIN.

Fermín Vila Michelena was a member of the so called ‘comando Madrid’ (the Madrid ETA cell). In 2001 he was accused of participating in various terrorist actions including the placing of a car bomb next to a branch of the BBVA bank in Madrid and placing another car bomb next to the Ministry of Justice in Madrid on 10th July 2001 resulting in the death of the policeman Luis Ortiz de la Rosa.

Vila Michelena was identified as a member of the Madrid ETA cell following a number of detentions carried out in November 2001 after a car bomb was placed in the street Corazón de María in Madrid.

Vila Michelena is also accused of being involved in placing another car bomb in the Hotel Montecarlo de Rosas in Girona on 17th March 2001 which resulted in the death of another policeman Santos Santamaría.