Suspect in plot against Spanish leader arrested
July 4, 2012 -- Updated 1523 GMT (2323 HKT)
- French police arrested Juan Maria Mugica Dorronsoro
- He is a member of the Basque separatist movement ETA
- He is wanted in Spain for a plot to attack a former prime minister with missiles
(CNN) -- French police have arrested a member of the Basque separatist movement ETA in southwestern France, the Spanish government said Wednesday.
Juan Maria Mugica Dorronsoro is wanted in Spain, where he is accused of plotting a missile attack against former Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar in 2001.
Mugica had fled when Spanish Civil Guards were on an anti-terror operation in Lizarza, in Spain's northern Basque region, in January 2010, the Spanish Interior Ministry said. At that time, the Civil Guards broke up an ETA supply and transport cell, which had been ordered in 2001 to attack Aznar with missiles, the ministry note said.
Hope, skepticism after ETA announcement
What's behind ETA announcement?
Mugica was arrested near the city of Pau in southwestern France.
Listed as a terrorist organization by Spain, the United States and the European Union, ETA is blamed for more than 800 deaths in its decades-long fight for an independent Basque state that it wants carved out of sections of northern Spain and southwestern France.
Last year, ETA announced "a definitive cessation of its armed activity," raising hopes that decades of separatist violence may finally be over.
Spain's conservative government has stepped up arrests since winning elections in November. The Popular Party of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has long maintained a tough line against ETA.
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