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Wednesday, 31 October, 2001, 15:45 GMT
Spain moves on ETA suspects
Basque flags
Those arrested are suspected active ETA members
Thirteen people have been arrested in Spain in pre-dawn raids targeted on supporters of the Basque separatist group ETA.

Police say those held are linked to groups that support ETA prisoners, but they are suspected of being active members themselves.

About 200 police officers took part in the raids in nine cities, including Bilbao, Pamplona, Vitoria, and San Sebastian.

Many of those detained are members of an ETA prisoner support group, Gestoras Pro Amnistia, which has accused the authorities of mounting a politically-motivated operation against it.

The raids were ordered by the Spanish High Court Judge Baltasar Garzon, who is leading an investigation into ETA, but is best known for his efforts to bring Chilean General Augusto Pinochet to trial.

Network 'weakened'

The five-hour operation finished shortly before 0800 (0700 GMT).

All those arrested have been taken to Madrid for questioning.

The arrests are the latest in a series of round-ups by the Spanish Government which officials say have significantly weakened ETA's network.

But ETA has indicated it has no plans to follow the lead of the IRA, and will not disarm unless the government is prepared to hold a referendum on independence for the Basque region.

Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar has made it clear that an independence vote is out of the question.

See also:

17 Oct 01 | Europe
Spain arrests seven ETA suspects
13 Oct 01 | Europe
Spanish police 'warned of attack'
27 Aug 01 | Europe
Madrid blast after ETA warning
26 Jul 01 | Europe
ETA bomb targets Spanish tourism
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