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Last Updated: Monday, 18 October, 2004, 09:45 GMT 10:45 UK
France finds big Eta arms dumps
Forensics officer in Biriatou
Evidence from earlier arrests is said to be behind the latest discovery
French police have discovered two big caches of arms thought to belong to the Basque separatists Eta.

The weapons found in Urrunge and Saint-Pierre d'Irrube in southwestern France included dynamite, rocket launchers, assault weapons and fake documents.

The discovery on Sunday follows recent key arrests of alleged Eta leaders in raids in France and Spain.

Eleven people, including suspected Eta leader Mikel Albizu, have been indicted by a Paris judge.

Spanish authorities consider the arrests made during the raids on 3 October and the discovery of arms caches as possibly the most significant blow against Eta in years.

Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero told El Pais newspaper on Sunday: "I think we are closer to the end of the violence".

Sunday's operation uncovered an impressive arsenal of weapons.

In Urrunge, police are said to have found 30 mortars, about 30 machine pistols, 20 assault rifles, 30 handguns, 48 anti-tank rocket launchers and 70,000 bullets.

In Saint-Pierre d'Irrube, they discovered 25 kilograms of dynamite and 30 detonators, an anti-tank rocket launcher, about 60 pistols and 20 assault rifles and around 23,000 bullets.

Eta has been fighting for more than 30 years for an independent Basque state.





SEE ALSO:
Missiles found in anti-Eta raids
05 Oct 04  |  Europe
Spain vows to 'crush' Eta
04 Oct 04  |  Europe
Eta wounded but not killed off
05 Oct 04  |  Europe
Eta 'border team' held in Spain
29 Sep 04  |  Europe
Who are Eta?
11 Apr 04  |  Europe
Eta: Key events
11 Apr 04  |  Europe


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