After long being spared the violence that has characterized Basque separatist agitation in the Spanish Basque country, the French Basque country has in recent months been hit by a series of increasingly spectacular attacks. French police investigations in connection with one such attack led to the arrest last month of 13 people, including some with known links to the Basque terrorist group ETA. An internal ETA document uncovered last month by the local Basque news service Vasco Press suggests that the upswing in violence may be the result of a new ETA "strategy of confrontation" with France.
In a document elaborated at the end of last year, the Basque terrorist group ETA mapped out a strategy for the Basque independence movement in France based on stepping up the "confrontation" and "pressure." The document, which has been seen by the Vasco Press news agency, indicates that "the pressure must be turned up until [France] realizes that it is engaged in a conflict with Euskal Herria [a Basque language designation of the Basque Country]." "Political, institutional and economic foundations must be made to tremble. The current framework of confrontation/denunciation of French government policy must be intensified," it states.