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Spanish police arrest suspected ETA activists

Spanish police have detained at least 10 suspects linked to the Basque separatist group ETA just over a week after the group declared a permanent ceasefire. The Spanish interior ministry promised to pursue terrorism.

ETA in their ceasefire video

ETA declared a ceasefire on January 10 this year

Spanish police have detained at least 10 people with alleged links to the Basque separatist group ETA just over a week after the group declared a "permanent and general ceasefire."

The Spanish interior ministry said most of the arrests were carried out early on Tuesday in the northern region of Navarra after suspects allegedly tried to reactivate the pro-ETA group Ekin.

Justice Minister Francisco Caamano said the operation illustrates the government's pursuit of "anti-terrorist policies."

"We are going to continue working [against ETA] as has been the case until today," he added.

Among those arrested was Iker Moreno Ibanez, son of a former leader of ETA's banned political wing Batasuna and spokesman for its militant offshoot.

The others are suspected of providing IT support to ETA and involvement in underground meetings of Ekin.

Pursuing terrorists

The Spanish government still insists that ETA must disband completely and said it will maintain police attention on the group until that time.

Authorities believe ETA has been severely weakened after several raids on its leadership in northern Spain and France. There has been no attack in Spain since August 2009.

The declaration on January 10 was the first unilateral declaration of a permanent ceasefire in ETA's violent campaign for an independent territory. The bombings and shootings have claimed the lives of over 800 people since the 1960s.

ETA released a series of statements last September proposing an end to violence and calling for international mediation. But the Spanish government dismissed them, insisting on a definitive, verifiable ceasefire without conditions.

Basque nationalist party Eusko Alkartasuna, however, has accused the government of trying to "obstruct" the "irreversible process" that had been launched in the Basque region.

Author: Joanna Impey (AFP, AP, dpa)
Editor: Rob Turner

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