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Spain Arrests Alleged Separatists

February 23, 2001

MADRID, Spain (AP) _ Police arrested 15 people Friday in raids linked to an investigation of the armed Basque separatist group ETA, just one day after a bombing blamed on ETA killed two men, officials said.

The pre-dawn arrests were made in the Basque towns of Ordizia and Goierri, 285 miles north of Madrid, a Basque security official said.

Among those detained was Inigo Gurregui Lasa, an alleged member of ETA’s Donosti Commando, one of the group’s deadliest units, Radio Nacional said.

There was no more information provided.

The arrests came the day after a car bomb in the northern city of San Sebastian killed two men and injured four others, three of them seriously.

Among those injured was Ignacio ``Inaki″ Dubrueil Churruca, 40, a Socialist councilor from the nearby town of Ordizia, police said. Spanish media speculated that Dubrueil was the target of the blast.

One of the men killed, Josu Leonet Azkona, 31, was believed to be a member of Euskal Herritarrok, ETA’s political wing, party spokesman Arnaldo Otegi said.

The other victim was a co-worker of Leonet’s at Electra, an electrical component and installation company.

Elektra employees on Friday placed flowers in remembrance of their slain colleagues at the bombing site, ending the vigil with a fierce condemnation of ETA.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the bombing, but ETA _ which has frequently used car bombs during its quest for Basque independence _ was immediately suspected. Some 800 people have been killed in 32 years of ETA violence.

If Thursday’s deaths are linked to ETA, it would bring to 26 the number of people killed since the armed separatists ended a 14-month cease-fire in December 1999.

Hours after the blast, French police said they had arrested ETA leader Francisco Javier Garcia Gaztelu, accused in a string of killings since 1995.

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