Suspected Eta bombers nabbed in pre-dawn raid

Spanish police detained two suspected ETA commandos in an early morning raid on Tuesday, striking a new blow against the already-weakened network of the armed Basque group, the government said.

Suspected Eta bombers nabbed in pre-dawn raid
A French police special forces agent walks in front of the house where two presumed members of ETA were arrested early in May in Montpellier, France. File photo: Sylvain Thomas/AFP

The pair — Jon Lizarribar Lasarte, born 1976, and Ruben Gelbentzu Gonzalez, born 1974 — are accused of taking part in four attacks in 2002, the Interior Ministry said in a statement.

The attacks were directed against the University of Navarra, the department store El Corte Ingles of Zaragoza and two companies from the neighbouring province of Navarra, it said.

Spanish police struck at about 3am (0100 GMT) in the Basque province of Gipuzkoa, acting on intelligence gathered from documents seized in France from members of the ETA leadership, the Spanish authorities said.

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's government said 36 ETA suspects had been arrested up to the end of May this year since it took power in December 2011.

Listed as a terrorist group by the European Union and the United States, ETA is blamed for 829 deaths in a four-decade campaign of bombings and shootings for independence for the Basque Country of northern Spain and southwestern France.

It declared in October 2011 a "definitive end" to its armed activity but has not formally disarmed or disbanded as the Spanish government demands.

ETA has not carried out an attack on Spanish soil since 2009 and some experts estimate it has only a few dozen members still at large after a string of arrests of its members over recent years.

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Two Spanish regions impose new Covid restrictions

Two northern Spanish regions bordering France, Catalonia and Navarra, on Sunday announced new coronavirus restrictions on public life to try to tame a rise in Covid-19 infections.

Two Spanish regions impose new Covid restrictions
People sit at a terrace bar overlooking the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona on July 25, 2020. Photo: Pau Barrena/AFP
In Navarra, which is home to around 650,000 people, gatherings as of Tuesday will be limited to six people, bars and restaurants must close at 10 pm and their capacity will be limited to 30 percent, regional leader Maria
Chivite said.
Capacity at cinemas, theatres and libraries will reduced to 30 percent while supermarkets will be limited to 40 percent, she added.
“We are at a critical moment, when we need to redirect the situation. We still have time. We don't want to go to a tougher scenario but that possibility exists,” Chivite told a news conference.
Navarra recorded 463 new Covid-19 cases on Saturday, the highest daily figure since the start of the pandemic.
In the northeastern region of Catalonia, which is home to around 7.5 million people, regional public health secretary Josep Maria Argimon urged companies to encourage their employees to work from home for the next 15 days.
He also asked universities to move their classes online during the next 15 days to reduce “social interactions”. “We will have to make sacrifices,” he said in an interview with RAC1 radio.
“Without taking measures, we could reach the situation in Madrid in two or three weeks,” he added.
The Spanish capital is currently one of Europe's Covid-19 hotspots. The infection rate in the region of Madrid currently stands at 564 cases per 100,000 people, compared with just 257 in the rest of Spain, itself the highest in the European Union.
Spain's central government on Friday declared a state of emergency in the Madrid region to enforce a partial lockdown in and around the Spanish capital.