ETA seeking to move bomb-making to Portugal: Madrid

MADRID (AFP)— Basque separatist group ETA is seeking to transfer its bomb-making capability to Portugal, Spain’s interior minister said Sunday, after a huge cache of explosives was discovered there last week.

Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba told Spanish media the discovery showed it was probable that ETA had chosen “to transfer its logistics set-up, its bomb-making factory” to Portugal.

His comments come after the discovery last week of a cache of explosives in a house in Casal da Avarela, near the central Portuguese city of Obidos, used by suspected ETA militants.

Spanish officials claimed 1.5 tonnes of explosive material was discovered, but Portuguese officials late Sunday said in a statement 800 kilos had been seized.

Spain’s interior minister also warned that ETA militants would find no respite in neighbouring countries.

“In France, ETA will find the French police and in Portugal they will find the Portuguese police, who are working in collaboration with Spanish agents,” Rubalcaba said.

French and Spanish police have stepped up cross-border cooperation against ETA militants, seizing hundreds of kilos of explosives in 12 caches in a series of raids across southern France last year.

ETA is blamed for 828 deaths in a 41-year campaign for independence in the Basque region of northern Spain and southwestern France, and appears on the terrorism blacklists of the European Union and the United States.