French police nab ETA suspects after shootouts

April 10, 2011 14:59

PARIS - French police captured a couple of suspected members of Basque separatist group ETA on Sunday after a checkpoint shootout and overnight sweep by hundreds of police and helicopters in the Creuse region of central France.

The suspects, a couple in a car, broke through a checkpoint and opened fire before abandoning their car and vanishing late on Saturday, a police statement said.

Hundreds of police backed up by helicopters were deployed to track the couple down and captured them on Sunday morning after another shootout, the statement said.

ETA, which has killed more than 850 people in half a century of struggle for an independent Basque state in northern Spain and southwest France, has been weakened by a string of arrests and discoveries of arms caches in Spain, France and Portugal.

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