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Suspected new ETA chief captured

  • Story Highlights
  • French police arrest suspected new military chief of ETA
  • ETA is blamed for more than 800 deaths in its long fight for independence
  • ETA has traditionally used France as a base for logistics to carry out attacks
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By Al Goodman CNN Madrid Bureau Chief
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MADRID, Spain (CNN) -- French police arrested the suspected new military chief of the Basque separatist group ETA on Monday, just three weeks after his alleged predecessor was captured, CNN partner station CNN+ reported.

Mikel Garikoitz Aspiazu was captured last month.

Mikel Garikoitz Aspiazu was captured last month.

The suspect, Aitzol Iriondo Yarza, allegedly headed the ETA commandos who carried out attacks. He was detained in the southern French village of Gerde with two other ETA suspects, French police said.

The suspected overall leader of ETA -- heading both the military and policy-making, or political, wing -- was arrested November 17, also in southern France, Rubalcaba said last month.

That man, Mikel Garikoitz Aspiazu, 35, alias "Txeroki," is wanted in connection with numerous ETA fatal attacks, Rubalcaba said.

Since then, a Basque businessman was shot and killed last Wednesday in northern Spain, in an attack authorities blamed on ETA.

ETA is blamed for more than 800 deaths in its long fight for Basque independence.

ETA, listed as a terrorist group by the European Union and the United States, has long used France as a base to prepare for attacks across the border in Spain.

There are about 600 ETA convicts or suspects in Spanish jails and 150 in French jails, authorities in the two countries have told CNN.

All About ETA Separatist GroupSpainFranceBasque Country

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