MADRID (AP) — Spain’s Interior Ministry says that a longtime chief of the Basque separatist militant group ETA has been arrested in the French Alps.
Authorities had been looking for José Antonio Urruticoetxea Bengoetxea, known by the alias Josu Ternera, since 2002. He is accused of crimes against humanity.
In a statement, the ministry says that Spanish Civil Guard and French intelligence services arrested Ternera early on Thursday in Sallanches, a town of 16,000 in eastern France’s Alps region.
ETA, whose initials stand for “Euskadi ta Askatasuna” or “Basque Homeland and Freedom” in the Basque language, killed more than 850 people during its violent campaign to create an independent state in northern Spain and southern France.
The militant group gave up its arms in 2017 and disbanded one year ago.