FRANCE -Spain

Police find alleged Eta arms cache in French Basque town

Pro-Eta graffiti in Spain - the Basque separatist organisation has renounced armed struggle but not handed over its weapons
Pro-Eta graffiti in Spain - the Basque separatist organisation has renounced armed struggle but not handed over its weapons AFP

Anti-terror police uncovered an arms cache in the French west coast town of Biarritz on Thursday in a raid on alleged supporters of the Basque separatist group Eta. The owner of the villa that was raided and her partner have been detained.

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At 10am on Thursday morning police raided the Villa Cambarre, a historic building in the centre of the French Basque country town.

They found weapons, explosives and elements that could be used to make bombs, as well as handguns and bullets, they said afterwards.

The villa's owner, a 38-year-old architect who police say is a known Eta sympathiser, and her 37-year-old boyfriend, who does not live in the house permanently, were both taken into custody.

Police sources say that some of the arms could be the fruit of a hostage-taking in 2006 when two men and a woman broke into the home of the owner of a company that sells guns, telling her that they had kidnapped her grandchildren.

She allowed the kindappers to take 200 handguns and the children were freed.

Today's raid, which was based on a tip-off, was carried out by French anti-terror police working with Spain's Guardia Civil.

Eta renounced armed struggle in 2011 but has refused to dissolve itself or surrender its arms.

It started a unilateral decommissioning process in 2014 but has refused to hand over its weapons to the regional government of the Spanish Basque country.

 

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