French police arrest suspected head of ETA

MADRID Sun Oct 28, 2012 6:39am EDT

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MADRID (Reuters) - French police arrested the suspected head of Basque separatist group ETA early on Sunday in the eastern town of Macon, Spain's Interior Ministry said.

Izaskun Lesaka, said to be one of the three leading figures of the group, was arrested in a hotel 70 km from Lyon alongside another ETA member whose identity was yet to be confirmed, the ministry said in a statement.

Both ETA members were armed and their arrests follow those of many more in France, Spain and Britain this year as part of a joint operation to crack down on the group.

ETA said last October it would give up its four-decade-long armed struggle for independence that killed over 800 people, but has never handed over its weapons and arrests of its members and discoveries of ammunition caches continue to be made.

Spain's government insists the group disband and hand over weapons.

(Reporting by Nigel Davies)

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