Members of ETA held

MADRID: Spain’s National Court on Sunday jailed seven people on charges of belonging to a militant cell of the Basque separatist group ETA. The cell is believed responsible for a string of recent bomb attacks.

The seven would be held in provisional preventive custody pending a full trial, said anti-terror judge Baltasar Garzon. A date for the trial was not given.

They were detained last week in the Basque towns of Getxo and Elorrio. Among those jailed was the suspected leader of the cell, Arkaitz Goikoetxea. Mr. Garzon said the cell was suspected of having perpetrated many recent attacks, including the May car bombing of a police barracks in Legutiano, northern Spain, in which one officer died.

After the detentions, Ms. Goikoetxea led officers to two hidden caches of explosives and other terror-related material, including tranquilizers to sedate kidnap victims, the judge said in the statement.

Mr. Goikoetxea acknowledged during questioning taking orders directly from ETA’s top military strategist, Garikoitz Azpiazu, said Mr. Garzon. Mr. Azpiazu’s whereabouts are unknown.

The cell had planned to establish a permanent ETA base in Portugal. There was evidence that it was planning a chain of attacks in August, during Spain’s peak tourist period in Andalucia, said Mr. Garzon.

The other suspects were identified as Maialen Zuazo Aurrecoechea, Ana Isabel Furendarena, Inigo Gutierrez Carrillo, Mikel Saracho Moro, Aitor Cotano Sinde and Gaizka Jareno Ugarriza. Mr. Garzon released one suspect, Adur Aristegui Aragon, on bail and released another person arrested without charges. ETA — considered a terrorist group by Spain, the EU and U.S. — has waged an armed campaign for an independent Basque state. — AP

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