Big ETA news: The French police, in a coordinated French-Spanish operation, arrested four ETA members in Bordeaux last night at about 11:30. These are big fish, the leaders of ETA's political branch, and Francisco Javier López Peña is the biggest of them all. Interior minister Rubalcaba said that López Peña is the bull goose etarra, the leader of both the political and operational branches.
He was known to have been, at one time or another, ETA's political leader, in charge of ETA's weapons cache, in charge of ETA training, and in charge of ETA safe houses in France. López Peña was part of the ETA delegation that met with the Zap government in December 2006, and he is thought to be the leader of the faction that decided to break the most recent ETA alleged truce (March-December 2006) with the Barajas bombing.
The other three etarras arrested were also members of the leadership of ETA's political branch. They are Ainhoa Ozaeta, the daughter-in-law of notorious ETA boss "Josu Ternera," who was the masked etarra who read ETA's March 2006 "truce" communiqué; Igor Suberbiola, who planned a series of 2004 bombings and who already had a warrant out for him; and Jon Salaberría, a former leader of the ETA youth brigade Jarrai and an ex-member of the Basque parliament from ETA's front party Batasuna.
The four were captured while meeting in a safe house in Bordeaux; each was carrying a pistol, they had a small amount of explosives, and they also had a lot of files and documents, which should prove very useful.
This morning the former Batasuna mayor of Andoain, José Antonio Barandiaran Ezama, was arrested. He is alleged to have met with the four arrested terrorists. The person who rented the Bordeaux safe house has also been arrested. I will bet that a whole string of arrests will happen within the last couple of days. And you know everybody in ETA is scrambling right now, because a load of evidence has just dropped into the laps of the police.
This is a major step along the way to destroying ETA.