Spain Cracks Down on ETA, One Terrorist at a Time

Spain Cracks Down on ETA, One Terrorist at a Time

MADRID, Spain -- Spain is on high alert for a possible terrorist attack following the arrest on Nov. 17, of the head of the Basque terrorist group, ETA. Mikel Garikoitz Aspiazu Rubina, known by his nom de guerre, Txeroki (Cherokee), was detained along with another ETA suspect in a pre-dawn raid by French police in the southern French Pyrenées region, near the Spanish border.

Aspiazu, 35, who is believed to be behind several recent attacks, including the bombing of the Madrid airport in 2006, is the second key ETA leader to be captured within the last six months. In May, Spanish and French police arrested ETA's then top commander, Francisco Javier López Peña (alias Thierry), in Bordeaux. Since then, dozens of lower level ETA figures have also been detained.

Spanish authorities initially said that Aspiazu was ETA's top military chief, the one in charge of ordering attacks. But Spanish Interior Minister Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba now believes Aspiazu was also in charge of policy, and thus in charge of overall strategy. "Txeroki was in charge of everything, the political apparatus, and the so-called military apparatus. The one who ordered the killings was Txeroki," Rubalcaba said in an interview with SER radio.

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