Spain blames ETA for police shooting | Europe | News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 17.03.2010

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Spain blames ETA for police shooting

A traffic stop of a suspected stolen vehicle turned deadly Tuesday when gunmen opened fire on French police near Paris, killing one officer. Spain has blamed the Basque militant group ETA for the crime.

A sign with the worlds 'ETA No'

France has become more involved in fighting ETA

Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero has blamed members of the Basque separatist group ETA for the shooting death of a French police officer near Paris on Tuesday evening.

According to police reports obtained by the French media, police officers stopped a vehicle suspected of being stolen from a nearby car lot in the Paris suburb Dammarie-les-Lys. During the traffic stop, another car appeared and opened fire on the officers, hitting one of them in the chest despite his bulletproof vest.

The suspects then fled the scene, but one was later apprehended and reportedly gave a Basque identification. The officer died from his wounds.

Paying a high price

Police standing at the crime scene

Dammarie-les-Lys is about 50 kilometers (30 miles) southeast of Paris

Zapatero called a press conference Wednesday to condemn the incident and express his sympathies to the family of the slain officer.

"I condemn this criminal action carried out by the criminals of the terrorist group ETA," he said. "France has paid a high price for its support of the fight against ETA terrorism in Spain."

If it is confirmed that the shooting suspects are a part of ETA, it would mark the first time a French police officer was killed by a member of the group. In two previous incidents from 2009 and 2001, French officers were wounded in shootouts with ETA.

ETA has killed over 800 people in its 41-year campaign to gain independence for the Basque region in northern Spain and southwest France.

Editor: Martin Kuebler

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