COSTA BOMB PLANS FOILED

One of the eight ETA suspects arrested early last week, Arkaitz Goikoetxea Basabe, has been charged with conspiracy to carry out a bombing campaign in Andalucia this summer, specifically in Malaga coastal resorts. Another of the suspects, Libe Aguirre, was arrested in Fuengirola. Police base the charge on the fact that detailed street plans of several Costa del Sol resorts were found among the papers seized by the Guardia Civil in the raids on houses in the Vizcaya region in the early hours of last Tuesday morning. Another suspect was arrested in Getxo, Vizcaya, last Thursda, bringing to total number arrested to nine. The Basque terrorist group received another blow when the French police, in cooperation with the Guardia Civil, arrested another two suspects in Dijon last Thursday when the car they were travelling in swerved off the road. The police, who had been following them in an unmarked car, immediately arrested Olga Comes and Asier Eceiza, described as one of the seven most wanted ETA members. He is said to be the right hand man of ETA top military commander, Garikoitz Aspiazu, aka Txeroki. The pair are currently awaiting deportation to Spain. Judge Baltasar Garzon began questioning the suspected Basque terrorists in Madrid last Saturday. Arkaitz Goikoetxea, believed to be the leader of the Basque terrorist group’s most active commando group in Spain, the so-called “comando Vizcaya”, was the first to be questioned by the judge. He admitted to belonging to the Vizcaya commando group and to taking orders from Txeroki, but refused to answer questions about his involvement in specific ETA attacks. He has been charged with bombing the Guardia Civil barracks in Alava on May 14th in which one Guardia, Juan Manuel Piñuel, was killed. He has also been charged with belonging to a terrorist group, conspiring to kidnap Socialist councilor Benjamin Atutxa, stealing a car to be used in a bomb attack, illegal possession of weapons, explosives and forging Guardia Civil identity cards, among others. The weapons, explosives and documents were found in three underground caches which the police and Guardia Civil discovered in separate searches in the Vizcaya area at the end of last week. Judge Garzón ordered Arkaitz Goikoetxea and six others to be held unconditionally. Another was allowed out on bail of €12,000 and two others were released. Interior Minister Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba said last week that one of the quickest ways of going to prison in Spain was to join the Basque terrorist group, adding that the time lapse between joining ETA and getting arrested was becoming increasingly shorter. Last week’s arrests followed a series of blasts the previous Sunday, when four bombs exploded in beach resorts along the Basque coastline. ETA has planted small bombs in tourist resorts almost every summer in recent years in its attempt to damage the economy by scaring visitors away. No-one has been killed so in the summer bomb campaigns, although several people have been slightly injured in the past. The group has killed more than 850 people since it began its campaign for an independent Basque nation 40 years ago.

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