Alleged Leader of ETA Is Captured in France
The alleged political leader of the armed Basque separatist group ETA and his partner were arrested Sunday along with 19 other accused ETA members during a police sweep in southwestern France, Spanish authorities said. Calling the raid "historic," Spain's interior minister, Jose Antonio Alonso, said it had netted Mikel Albizu Iriarte, 43, who he said has run ETA since 1993.

Mikel Albizu Iriarte was arrested with 20 other suspects. Albizu's partner, Soledad Iparraguirre, 43, is accused of involvement in at least 14 murders and is considered by authorities to be the highest-ranking woman in ETA. She is also suspected of collecting, managing and distributing money the group raises through kidnappings and extortion of businesses. The couple, who appear on wanted posters in government buildings throughout Spain, were caught with their son in a house they used sporadically in the French town of Salies de Bearn, authorities said. The 19 other people arrested were described by authorities as part of the logistical support network for the outlawed group.

Posted by: Steve White 2004-10-04