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Thursday, 31 January, 2002, 13:11 GMT
French arrest six ETA suspects
French police at a house near Pau, where explosives were seized on Saturday
It is the third raid by French police in less than a week
French police have arrested six suspected militants of the Basque separatist group ETA and seized a cache of explosives just outside the southern city of Bordeaux.

Members of the French anti-terrorist squad and a police special weapons squad raided the flat in Bouscat, which had been under surveillance for a week.

Two handguns, a homemade rocket-launcher and several detonators were seized in the raid, police said.

One man was taken into custody as he left the building prior to the ambush, and a further five - including a woman - were arrested inside.

One of the six detained, Angel Arrauzpide-Cruz, is considered by police to be the head of an ETA reservist cell, correspondents say.

Tipped off

It is the third time in less than a week that French police have cracked down on alleged ETA activities.

Smoke rises from a ca bomb in Bilbao
ETA have killed more than 800 people since 1968
Last Saturday, police seized some 600 kilograms (1,300 pounds) of dynamite believed to belong to the group on the outskirts of the southern city of Pau.

On Monday, the French authorities also found suspected ETA documents and equipment used to make car license plates in a van, again near Pau.

In both cases, police were reported to have been tipped off by a landlord who had not been paid rent for several months.

ETA, which stands for Basque Homeland and Freedom, has been fighting for more than 30 years to establish an independent homeland in the region straddling northern Spain and southwest France.

The organisation, which has been branded a terrorist group by Spain and the European Union, has killed more than 800 people since 1968.

See also:

17 Jan 02 | Europe
Dutch police arrest ETA suspect
06 Dec 01 | Europe
French police arrest ETA suspects
20 Nov 01 | Europe
Two police hurt in Bilbao blast
27 Aug 01 | Europe
Madrid blast after ETA warning
26 Jul 01 | Europe
ETA bomb targets Spanish tourism
02 Dec 99 | Europe
ETA's bloody record
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