Spanish police arrested 13 suspected Basque separatists yesterday in a crackdown on street violence by supporters of the armed group ETA, officials said. The Ertzaintza police force of the semi-autonomous Basque region searched 21 homes and rounded up suspects believed to have carried out what the Spanish government calls “low-intensity terrorism”. The authorities held out the possibility of further detentions. Police said they had targeted young ETA supporters who were suspected of attacking the homes of police and politicians with Molotov cocktails, setting fire to banks and blocking streets in the Basque region of northern Spain over the past two months. The arrests were concentrated in the town of Hernani, near San Sebastian, and the small town of Goizueta in the Pyrenees mountains further to the east. Typically few arrests are made for street violence. Critics blame a lack of will on the part of the Ertzaintza and Basque regional authorities. ETA is blamed for some 800 deaths in its 32-year campaign for an independent Basque homeland in northern Spain and southern France. After a 14-month ceasefire ended last December, ETA resumed its bloody campaign, claiming responsibility for two car bombs that killed three people this year.


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