April 19, 2009 / 10:20 AM / 10 years ago

TIMELINE - Military leader of ETA captured

(Reuters) - Police have arrested a military chief of ETA and 8 other suspected members, Spain said on Sunday.

Here is a timeline of some major events since Euskadi ta Askatasuna (Basque Homeland and Freedom) was founded:

1959 - ETA is formed during dictatorship of General Francisco Franco to fight for Basque self-determination.

1968 - ETA carries out first killing: victim is Meliton Manzanas, police chief in the Basque city of San Sebastian.

1973 - Franco’s Prime Minister Luis Carrero Blanco is killed when his car drives over explosives planted by ETA in Madrid.

1980 - In its bloodiest year, ETA kills nearly 100 people despite Spain’s return to democracy.

September 1985 - First ETA car bomb explodes in Madrid. A U.S. tourist is killed and 16 Civil Guards wounded.

July 1986 - Twelve Civil Guards are killed in Madrid and 50 wounded. Juan Manuel Soares, a repentant Basque separatist, is sentenced to 1,401 years in jail in April 2000 for the killings.

June 1987 - Twenty-one shoppers are killed by a bomb at Barcelona supermarket. ETA apologises.

September 1998 - ETA announces a truce. The cease-fire ends in December 1999.

November 21, 2000 - Socialist Former Health Minister Ernest Lluch shot dead in Barcelona.

October 10, 2004 - New Socialist Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero appeals to ETA to give up the fight after the arrest of a suspected leader, Mikel Albisu Iriarte, alias “Mikel Antza.”

March 22, 2006 - ETA declares a permanent cease-fire, which comes into force two days later.

— December 30 - Car bomb explodes at Madrid airport killing two Ecuadorians. Zapatero breaks off peace process. ETA later claims responsibility for airport bomb.

April 8, 2007 - ETA says it is ready to make new commitments to the peace process if Spain stops “attacks” in the Basque region where police have been arresting ETA suspects.

— December 1 - ETA suspects kill two Guardia Civil policemen working undercover in France.

January 14, 2008 - Zapatero rules out any chance of peace talks with ETA and says its only option is unilateral surrender.

— March 7 - Isaias Carrasco, a former councillor for the Socialist Party, is killed in Mondragon two days before a national election. ETA later claims responsibility.

— May 21 - Police in southwest France arrest top commander, Francisco Javier Lopez Pena, also known as Thierry, in Bordeaux.

— October 30 - A car bomb explodes in a University of Navarre car park in northern Spain, wounding 17 people after a warning call in the name of ETA.

— November 5 - ETA claims responsibility for 10 bombings and says it will press its campaign for Basque rights.

— November 17 - ETA’s suspected military leader, Garikoitz Aspiazu Rubina, known by his alias “Txeroki” or “Cherokee,” is arrested in France’s Pyrenean region, near the Spanish border.

— December 3 - Ignacio Uria, an owner of the construction company Altuna y Uria, building a stretch of the high-speed train named by ETA as a target, is shot dead in Azpeitia.

— December 8 - French police announce the arrest of a man identified as Balak, presumed successor to Txeroki and named by Spain as Aitzol Iriondo.

January 21, 2009 - ETA claims responsibility for killing Uria and threatens other people working on the rail project.

— January 30 - ETA vows to keep fighting as it marks its 50th anniversary.

— April 18 - Jurdan Martitegi, ETA’s new military leader known as “the giant” is arrested in southern France.

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