Spain's interior minister
According to the Interior minister, the operation dismantled the running of safe houses, the providing of stolen vehicles and the production of counterfeit material.
Spain's interior minister Jorge Fernandez Diaz. Photo: EFE
The arrest of six suspected members of the armed Basque group ETA in France on Tuesday has broken up the armed group's "logistical core" and has brought it close to being wiped out, Spain's interior minister Jorge Fernandez Diaz said.
"Investigations determined that those detained operated in three groups that formed the core of ETA's logistical system," the minister said.
"The operation dismantled three services basic and vital to the survival of ETA and its members: the running of safe houses, the providing of stolen vehicles and the production of counterfeit material," the Spanish minister added.
French authorities arrested on Tuesday six suspected members of ETA in simultaneous police operations at three sites around France. Unusually, the three sites lay beyond traditional Basque country in southwest France: Blois in central France, Montpellier near the Mediterranean coast, and Brive-la-Gaillarde, northeast of Bordeaux.
According to the same sources, the suspects detained in Brive-la-Gaillarde ran the safe houses, the ones arrested in Blois took care of forging documents and the other two were in charge of stealing vehicles.
The ministry, in a statement, described the six as "active members of clandestine ETA cells."
ETA has been blamed for more than 800 killings in a campaign for an independent Basque state in Spain and France. Waves of arrests by French and Spanish authorities have weakened ETA in recent years.