Even as the Basque separatist ETA signals a willingness to move toward peace, one of its top leaders — whom many are calling the “most senior” — has been arrested in France before a commando operation that allegedly was to be carried out in Spain.

The ETA’s political wing recently called on the group to end violence and shift toward the political center in order to better participate in Spanish politics. –JCL

The BBC:

One of the top leaders of the Basque separatist group Eta has been arrested in north-western France, the Spanish interior ministry has said.

Ibon Gogeascotxea was arrested with two other suspected Eta members in a French and Spanish operation in Normandy.

Madrid said the arrests had foiled a planned “commando” operation in Spain.

A militant group fighting for an independent Basque homeland, Eta has been blamed for more than 820 deaths during its 41-year campaign in Spain.

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