ETA leader arrested in France

ETA commander Francisco Javier López Peña AKA “Thierry”—on the run since 1983 and held responsible for ending the last ceasefire—was arrested late May 20 in Bordeaux in a joint operation involving the French Gendarmerie and Spanish Guardia Civil. Arrested with Thierry at a downtown apartment were Ainhoa Ozaeta Mendiondo, Igor Suberbiola and Jon Salaberría, a former member of the Basque parliament and Batasuna leader. All four were armed, but did not resist. Ozaeta Mendiondo is the voice who reads ETA’s communiqués in media releases, and said to be the lover of the son of veteran militant Josu Ternera. (ThinkSpain, May 21)

López surfaced as key representative of ETA in peace negotiations which collapsed with the December 2006 car bomb attack at Madrid airport, which killed two. He had replaced Ternera, one of ETA’s chief negotiators, at a meeting with Spanish officials in Switzerland earlier that month. (NYT, May 22)

See our last post on Spain and the Basques.