The United States has designated leader of the militant Basque separatist group in Spain as terrorist.
Basque Fatherland and Liberty (ETA) leader Aitzol Iriondo Yarza was designated on Thursday under Executive Order 13224, which targets terrorists and those providing support to terrorists or acts of terrorism, the State Department said in a press release.
As a result of the designation, all property subject to U.S. jurisdiction in which Iriondo has any interest is blocked and any assets he may have under U.S. jurisdiction are frozen. U.S. persons are prohibited from engaging in any transactions with him. The action will help stem the flow of financial and other assistance to the ETA leader.
Iriondo, who is also an explosives expert, is currently detained in France waiting extradition to Spain on terrorism and murder charges. His status as a long term ETA member and his engagement in terrorist activities such as murder, bombings, recruiting, training, and providing logistical support for a terrorist organization, constitute a threat to U.S. interests, the State Department said. Spain and the EU have also listed Iriondo as a terrorist.
ETA, designated by the United States as a Foreign Terrorist Organization in 1997 and a Specially Designated Global Terrorist entity, is responsible for killing more than 800 civilians, police, and military personnel, and injuring thousands of people since it formally began its campaign of violence in 1968.
ETA has primarily used bombings and assassinations in its campaign, targeting Spanish government officials, security and military forces, politicians, businessmen, judicial figures, journalists, and tourists. Between 2007 and 2010, more than 400 ETA members have been arrested. Since 2008, Spanish and French authorities have apprehended a number of ETA members and top leaders. These arrests have significantly reduced the group's activities with an estimated 100 ETA members remaining at large. Spanish and French prisons together are estimated to hold more than 750 ETA members.
by RTT Staff Writer
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