French police arrest suspected head of ETA
MADRID (Reuters) - French police arrested the suspected head of Basque separatist group ETA's military wing early on Sunday in the eastern French town of Macon, Spain's Interior Ministry said.
Izaskun Lesaka, 38, said to be one of the three leading figures of the group, was arrested in a hotel 70 km (40 miles)from Lyon with ETA member Joseba Iturbide Ochoteco, 33, the ministry said in a statement.
Both were armed, it added. Their capture brings to 24 the number of suspected members of the group arrested this year in France, Spain and Britain as part of a joint operation.
"The arrest of Lesaka is key because it ends the work of the person responsible for the most dangerous part of ETA," the statement read.
ETA said last October it would give up its four-decade-old armed struggle for independence, which killed more than 800 people, but has never handed over its weapons and arrests of its members and discoveries of ammunition caches continue.
Spain's government insists the group disband and hand over weapons.
The ministry said Lesaka had fled to France in 2003 and was one of three ETA bosses alongside David Pla and Iratxe Sorzabal. She was also identified as being one of three masked ETA members who read the group's video statement ending its armed struggle last October.
(Reporting by Nigel Davies; editing by Andrew Roche)
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