World News

FACTBOX - Key facts about ETA

(Reuters) - Police in southwest France have arrested the leader of Basque separatist group ETA who had been on the run for more than 20 years, the Interior Ministry said.

Following are five facts about ETA:

-- ETA (Euskadi ta Askatasuna, or Basque Country and Freedom) is fighting for an independent Basque state in northern Spain and southwestern France.

-- Spain, the United States and the European Union list ETA as a terrorist organisation. The group has killed more than 800 people since 1968, typically with car bombs or shootings.

-- More than 750 suspected ETA members have been detained since 2000.

-- Both socialist and conservative governments have tried to negotiate with ETA. Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero started peace talks after ETA declared a ceasefire in March 2006 but called them off when the separatists killed two people later that year.

-- Spain has banned Basque political party Batasuna for being ETA’s political wing, an allegation the party denies. This year, Spanish courts banned two other Basque parties from taking part in a national election due on March 9. (Writing by David Cutler, London Editorial Reference Unit)