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ETA fighters kill Spanish guard in southern France

Saturday, December 1, 2007

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Euskadi Ta Askatasuna, or ETA, is a Basque nationalist paramilitary organization active in Spain and France. The organization's goal is sovereignty for Basque Country and it uses both political and violent means to further its cause.

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A Spanish civil guard was killed today and another seriously wounded in the town of Capbreton, on the southwest coast of France, in a shootout with suspected members of the Basque separatist group ETA.

The events occurred around 8:30 a.m. UTC, when the two plainclothes guards were entering in their car after leaving a coffee shop in the locality. They were then assaulted by two men who fired on them. Agent Raul Centeno Pallón died on the scene instantly, while Fernando Trapero Blázquez was injured seriously and is in a coma.

The civil guard were taking part in a joint surveillance operation with French police against ETA in southern France, when the two guardsmen were apparently detected and identified by the suspected ETA members. After the attack, the two suspected ETA members, and a woman who was with them, fled in a car. Having traveled about 70 kilometers, the two men abandoned the vehicle and robbed another car. The driver of the hijacked car was kidnapped, put in the trunk and finally left tied to a tree.

This is the first fatality blamed on ETA since it ended the last cease-fire in June, although it has carried out many non-fatal actions.

This incident comes a day after the National High Court of Spain issued arrest warrants to round up 46 of 52 Basque citizens prosecuted and sentenced previously on accusations of supporting ETA's separatist ideas.


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