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Following Oct ceasefire declaration , ETA 10 Nov announced would be willing to discuss giving up weapons. Basque separatist party Amaiur won 7 parliamentary seats in 20 Nov general election.
ETA 20 Oct released statement announcing “definitive cessation of its armed activity” for Basque independence, called on French and Spanish govts to respond with “process of direct dialogue”. Spanish govt welcomed move; PM Zapatero called announcement “victory for democracy, law and reason”. Announcement followed peace conference in San Sebastian calling for ETA to lay down arms, govt to open negotiations.
Ahead of 22 May regional and local elections, Constitutional Court 5 May overturned Supreme Court decision banning new left-wing Basque nationalist coalition Bildu. Bildu gained 25% of vote in Basque Country, second behind Basque Nationalist Party (30%) and beating governing Socialists.
Ahead of 22 May regional and local elections, tens of thousands again demonstrated 2 Apr, calling for legalisation of new pro-independence party Sortu, denied legal status by Supreme Court late March. Govt 27 Apr took steps to ban Bildu party, also suspected of ETA links. Several suspected ETA members arrested over month. ETA 16 Apr reaffirmed “clear commitment” to ending armed conflict.
Supreme Court 24 March voted 9-7 to deny legal status to new political party Sortu, formed to succeed banned political wing of ETA Batasuna. ETA 27 March said prepared to allow observers to verify its call for permanent ceasefire. Suspected head of ETA Alejandro Zobaran Arriola arrested in N France 11 March.
Basque separatists 7 Feb launched new political party “Sortu” rejecting use of violence, ahead of May regional elections. Attorney general 18 Feb said Sortu is continuation of banned Batasuna party, will ask Supreme Court to deny it legal status. PM Zapatero 22 Feb said ETA “in its final phase”.
Video released 10 Jan showing masked ETA militants declaring permanent ceasefire; no mention of handing over weapons. Govt rejected ceasefire, saying it did not go far enough. Newspaper El Pais 16 Jan reported ETA voted to continue use of violence Nov 2010. Police 18 Jan arrested 10 people suspected of links to ETA support organisations. Anti-terrorist services reportedly identified 50 ETA members residing in Venezuela.
Leader of ETA political wing Arnaldo Otegi in interview from jail 28 Dec said group ready to give up arms. Statement comes amid speculation that major ETA announcement imminent; interior minister Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba expressed caution. 3 suspected ETA members 20 Dec carried out armed robbery in SE France, taking electronic material including blank ID cards. 4 police jailed 30 Dec for torturing 2 ETA suspects in 2008.
Banned Batasuna party 27 Nov announced plans for new party rejecting violence. Spanish intelligence service report 2 Nov said ETA continuing to train in France.
Arnaldo Otegi, jailed leader of banned political wing of ETA Batasuna, 18 Oct said group should “declare unilateral and permanent truce”, seek democratic and peaceful independence. Spanish police 22 Oct arrested 13 members of Segi, outlawed group considered youth branch of ETA. Trial started 26 Oct of 15 paramilitary officers accused of torturing 2 ETA suspects.
Armed separatist group ETA announced unilateral ceasefire 5 Sept; PM Zapatero said announcement “worth nothing” unless group lay down arms forever. ETA 26 Sept said ready for permanent truce if certain conditions met. 16 Sept bomb explosion near regional capital Vitoria blamed on ETA-linked youth groups. Police arrested 9 suspected leaders of ETA-linked separatist group Ekin and 7 alleged members of ETA offshoot Askapena.
Trial started 15 July for 22 members of Udalbiltza Kursaal, assembly of banned pro-independence party Batasuna, accused of ETA membership and fundraising. Jailed ETA member Txapote sentenced to further 8 years for providing explosives to ETA cell.
Banned political wing of ETA, Batasuna, 20 June signed “strategic agreement” with Basque nationalist party Eusko Alkartasuna ahead of 2011 regional elections. ETA member wanted for 4 car bombings arrested 24 June in Belfast. 3 members of ETA-linked youth group Segi arrested 10 June in Rome during visit by Spanish PM Zapatero. Northern Irish police 24 June arrested suspected ETA member wanted for 2001 Madrid car bomb that killed 1 police officer.
Spain’s National Court 21 May sentenced 3 ETA members to 1,040 years each for Dec 2006 Madrid airport car bomb. French police 20 May arrested ETA military chief Mikel Karrera Sarobe and 2nd-in-command, along with 4 other suspected ETA members in Bayonne; 1 suspect sought for 17 March killing of French police officer in shootout near Paris.
10 ETA suspects arrested by Spanish police, 1 by French police 14 April; suspects accused of passing information between ETA prisoners and leaders, compiling list of targets including Spanish internal affairs minister Rubalcaba. Protests in San Sebastian, Bilbao 18 April against arrests. ETA blamed French police for shootout that killed French police officer 17 March. 4,500-5,000-strong demonstration in Bayonne 17 Apr to demand information on 2009 disappearance and unexplained death of ETA militant.
French President Sarkozy 24 March pledged to “eradicate” ETA bases in France after Paris policeman shot dead by alleged ETA member 17 March. Spain raised terrorism alert following shooting. 2 suspected ETA members arrested in Lisbon and London, 12, 14 March. Spanish judge 1 March accused Venezuelan ex-govt official of facilitating contacts between ETA and Colombian FARC rebel group (see Venezuela).
Suspected ETA military head Ibon Gogeascoechea Arronategui arrested in France 28 Feb. Rufino Etxeberria, leading member of ETA political wing, 21 Feb announced plans to end “any armed activity by ETA”. Portuguese police seized half tonne of explosives and bomb-making equipment allegedly belonging to ETA 6 Feb.
Several suspected ETA members arrested during month: 4 arrested in France and Portugal 10 Jan, including 1 driving van loaded with explosives; 5 allegedly responsible for Sept 2008 car bomb arrested N Spain 26 Jan; 2 arrested in N Spain 28 Jan. Thousands rallied in Bilbao 2 Jan demanding improved conditions for jailed ETA members; Basque prisoner group announced mass hunger strike 25 Jan.
Thousands marched in Bilbao 19 Dec in support of 5 Basque newspaper executives on trial for supporting ETA. Govt warned of possible ETA attack during Spain’s EU presidency, 29 Dec raised terrorism alert.
ETA political wing Batasuna 14 Nov called for talks with govt based on Northern Ireland peace process principles; did not condemn ETA use of violence. Police detained 36 suspected ETA supporters 24 Nov, and 34 suspected members of ETA’s youth wing Segi 26 Nov. Shots fired between policeman and suspected ETA terrorists believed to be planting bomb at police barracks 29 Nov.
Alleged ETA political head Aitor Elizaran Aguilar arrested in France 19 Oct, along with another suspect. Several other suspected ETA members arrested over month, as well as 19 members of banned political party Batasuna.
13 members of Basque parties D3M and Askatasuna, banned Feb for “ETA links”, prosecuted for belonging to ETA 7 Sept.
French police conducted series of raids starting 19 Aug, resulting in arrest of 3 suspected ETA members and discovery of several weapons caches. Suspected ETA member wanted for role in 1980s police murders arrested 6 Aug at Madrid airport after being deported from Mexico. Authorities banned planned mid-month protest marches by groups linked to ETA.
2 police killed by bomb on Majorca 30 July; police deactivated second bomb found nearby, closed ports and airports to prevent bombers’ escape. Attack came day after 60 people injured by bomb explosion outside police barracks in Burgos, north; both attacks blamed on ETA. ETA blamed for 10 July bomb attack on Socialist party office in Basque region. Supreme Court 24 July dissolved ANV political party due to links with ETA. 31 July marked 50th anniversary of ETA foundation. 4 suspected ETA members arrested in France over month.
Policeman killed in suspected ETA car bomb attack near Bilbao 19 June. 2 suspected ETA members arrested in Usurbil 23 June; 2 arrested in Paris 25 June; 10 detained in SW France 29 June.
1st non-nationalist govt in 3 decades appointed by Basque parliament 5 May by 39 votes to 35, following March election. New Socialist President Patxi Lopez pledged to fight ETA, unite Basque society. Supreme Court 16 May banned Internationalist Initiative-Solidarity among the People (II-SP) party from taking part in European Parliament elections over links with violent separatism; ruling reversed by Constitutional Court 22 May due to insufficient evidence. ETA 20 May blamed Spain and France for 18 Apr disappearance of member in France, said could launch attacks in France. Suspected ETA terrorist Iker Esparza arrested in Paris 25 May.
Socialist Party (PSE) 1 May signed informal coalition deal with opposition Popular Party (PP), consolidating creation of 1st non-nationalist govt in 3 decades after March elections; Socialist leader Patxi Lopez to be sworn-in as PM shortly. Suspected ETA military leader Jordan Martitegi arrested 18 Apr in France with 2 other ETA suspects: 3rd leader detained in 5 months. Sweep coincided with Spanish police operation apprehending 6. ETA 12 Apr announced it would target new regional government. Spanish national arrested 22 Apr in Northern Ireland, suspected of ETA links.
1 March regional poll produced 1st non-nationalist Basque govt since 1980. Basque Nationalist Party (PNV) won 30 seats, Basque Socialist Party (PSE) 25, People’s Party (PP) 13. Power-sharing deal between PSE and conservative PP agreed 30 March. PSE leader Patxi Lopex to be regional head. 2 suspected ETA members arrested 5 March for Dec killing of businessman involved in Basque- Madrid rail link; 44 charged 23 March with ETA membership; 8 arrested 31 March for ETA-linked violence. Suspected ETA bomb attack 26 March on house in Amorebieta – no injuries.
9 Feb ETA bomb blast thought to have targeted Ferrovial, construction firm building Madrid- Basque rail link opposed by ETA. No casualties in what was 1st ETA Madrid attack since Dec 2006. Small explosion 23 Feb outside ruling Socialist Party local HQ in Lazkao, following ETA phone warning, also caused no injuries. Supreme Court 8 Feb banned Askatasuna and Democracy 3 Million (D3M) parties from participating in 1 March regional elections due to “ETA links”; 14 Feb protests in Bilbao in response to ruling saw 5 arrests. ETA 27 Feb called elections “anti-democratic”, urged supporters to return blank ballots. ETA suspect arrested 1 March in Billabonna prior to regional poll, believed to be planning imminent bomb attack.
Trial of Basque Nationalist leader Juan Jose Ibarretxe thrown out 12 Jan after prosecution admitted his contacts with banned ETA-linked Batasuna party not illegal. ETA explosion 16 Jan targeted TV transmitter near Hernani; no injuries. French police 12 Jan arrested 2 ETA suspects in Ascain and Bayonne, SW France. ETA statement 21 Jan claimed responsibility for Dec killing of Spanish businessman; warned workers on planned Basque-Madrid high-speed rail link would be targeted.
Powerful blast hit Basque TV broadcaster EITB 31 Dec in Bilbao; ETA made warning call one hour before. Bombing followed continued wave of arrests of ETA leaders, including 8 Dec arrest in France of Aitzol Irionda, suspected successor to ETA leader Txeroki, arrested in Nov. Spanish police 16 Dec detained 4 ETA activists in San Sebastian. Police reported ETA suspected of killing Spanish businessman 3 Dec in Azpeitia. Elections for Basque regional govt to be held 1 Mar.
Suspected ETA head Mikel Garikoitz Aspiazu Rubina (“Txeroki”) arrested 17 Nov in Cauterets, southern France; charged over Dec 2006 Madrid airport bombing. 8 further militant separatists arrested 4 Nov in France by police investigating links between ETA and Batasuna political party.
20,000 protested 25 Oct in 6 towns against Supreme Court ban on independence vote. ETA suspected of series of bombs: 2 small explosions 25 Oct at Berriz, Amorebieta train stations; 4 Oct blast at Tolosa regional court, no injuries. Car bomb 30 Oct at Navarra University, Pamplona injured 17. 4 alleged ETA activists arrested 28 Oct in Pamplona, Valencia.
Suspected ETA attacks on security forces: explosion at Santano military residence killed 1 soldier 22 Sept, after 2 bombs 21 Sept outside Onderroa police station and at bank in Vittoria wounded 10– UNSG Ban Ki-moon, UNSC strongly condemned. Spanish Supreme Court 16 Sept banned Basque ANV party, citing links to armed ETA activists. French police arrested 27 ETA suspects 22-24 Sept.
Up to 1,000 marched in pro- independence rally 22 Aug in Bilbao. At least 10,000 evacuated from Spanish holiday resorts 17 Aug after 2 small bomb blasts; further bomb threats in French holiday resorts near Arcangues village saw some thousand evacuated as French police defused 3 bombs 8 Aug. French police 26 Aug arrested alleged ETA activist Zurutuza in Gotein-Libarrenx.
Wave of ETA arrests: police 24 July detained 9 alleged members including leader Arkaitz Goikoetxea near Bilbao; further 8 arrested 22 July in Bilbao. Blasts targeted holiday resorts: 4 bombs 20 July in Laredo, Noja, ETA claimed responsibility; further explosion 29 July in Torremolinos; bomb 20 July in Getxo; no casualties.
Regional parliament 27 June approved referendum on autonomy talks, ETA negotiations; Madrid said “unconstitutional”, announced lawsuit. Alleged ETA bomb 8 June targeted El Correo newspaper building in Zamudio.
Joint Spanish-French police operation 21 May arrested high-ranking ETA leader Javier Lopez Pena in Bordeaux. Series of bombs: ETA claimed responsibility for 14 May bomb outside Legutiano police barracks killing 1 officer, car bomb 19 May in Getxo; further explosion 1 June in Zarautz wounded 3. Madrid 28 May announced to block Basque plans for referendum on ETA talks, ties with Spain.
2 attacks on ruling Socialist Party offices 17 Apr in Bilbao injuring 7 police and 20 Apr in Elgoibar. 3 bombs exploded 1 May in San Sebastian and Vizcaya. Police 18 Apr arrested 10 accused of pro-ETA street violence.
Former municipal legislator Isaias Carrasco of Socialist party shot dead by suspected ETA member in Mondragon 7 March. Bomb explosions at Calahorra police station 21 March, near Azpeitia 30 March.
Wave of ETA arrests continued: 4 suspects of Dec 2006 Madrid airport bombing arrested 15 Feb. Violent protests in San Sebastian, Bilbao 14 Feb followed arrest of 11 activists and 2 senior members of banned separatist Batasuna. Minor explosions in Arnotegi 23 Feb and near courthouse in Bergera 7 Feb.
Further ETA arrests: 2 detained 6 Jan for carrying out fatal Dec 2006 car park bombing at Madrid Airport; 3 extradited from UK for alleged involvement in Feb 2006 bomb attack in Motrico. French police arrested leading ETA member Ainhoa Adin Jaurehui 29 Jan. 10 others detained for ETA-linked urban attacks during month. Government authorised action 25 Jan to outlaw 2 Basque parties linked to banned separatist Batasuna party.
ETA claimed responsibility for bombing in Sestao, Northern Spain, 16 December, and separate attack on ruling party ofﬁces in Balmaseda, Basque Country, 24 December. Attacks followed ETA’s 14 December pledge to continue campaign against Spanish government. 8-year National Court trial ended with conviction of 47 for ETA links 19 December.
1 Spanish police officer killed, 1 injured by ETA suspects in Capbreton, France, 1 December. Over 40 convicted of aiding ETA rounded up by Spanish police 29 November; sentencing to begin December. Government denied media reports of secret October meeting with ETA representatives on Austrian-German border.
Police arrested 25 leading members of banned separatist Batasuna party 2, 4 October; provisionally charged 17 with membership of armed group. ETA suspected in car bomb attack on bodyguard of local counsellor in Bilbao 9 October. PM Zapatero rejected Basque regional president Ibarretxe’s proposals for a 2008 referendum on region’s future relationship with Spain. Basque Country judge ruled Ibarretxe and 2 Socialist Party members must stand trial for meeting Batasuna leaders in 2006, early 2007.
Arrests of suspected ETA members continued across French border: 4 detained in joint police operation in Cahors 1 September; 13 held 24 September over 2006 French hotel bombing. ETA statement 9 September claimed responsibility for series of attacks since July; vowed to continue. Minor explosions on highway 2 September and outside police station in Zarautz 25 September. ETA member Jose Maria Arregi Erostarbe sentenced 26 years for 1990 attempted murder of official.
Van packed with explosives blew up outside police station in Durango 24 August; 2 police injured. Similar explosion 27 August in field near Castellon appeared connected to aborted plans to bomb resort; owners of van abducted, released. ETA suspected in both attacks.
French police arrested Juan Cruz Maiza Artola, suspected logistics chief of ETA, and 2 others near Toulouse 26 July. ETA claimed responsibility for 2 bomb explosions along Spanish section of Tour de France cycle route 25 July.
ETA declared end to 15- month ceasefire 5 June. Day later former ETA leader Jose Ignacio de Juana Chaos, under house arrest since March, re-jailed. Batasuna leader Arnoldo Otegi also arrested, to start 15-month sentence for glorifying terrorism. PM Zapatero admitted government held secret talks with ETA before December 2006 Madrid airport bombing.
27 May local elections saw moderate Basque Nationalist Party retain dominance in municipalities; pro-Basque Naforra Bai party came second in regional poll in neighbouring Navarre. Run up saw low-level violence and protests against exclusion of many Basque nationalist lists. Constitutional Court confirmed Supreme Court bar of 246 Basque Nationalist Socialist and 133 Basque National Action candidates as continuation of banned Batasuna Party. Bilbao rally protested decision 12 May. Home-made car-bomb targeting local socialist party candidate Jose Antonio Elola failed to detonate in Zarautz 24 May. ETA member Jon Bienzobas sentence