Two of Spain’s most wanted ETA terrorists arrested in London
TWO of Spain’s most wanted ETA terrorists have been arrested in a dawn raid at a residence in West London including a man previously convicted of 22 murders.
British police arrested the Basque fugitives, who were living together with fake identities at an address in Hounslow, on Friday morning at around 4am.
The two were named as Antonio Troitino, 55, and Ignacio Lerin Sanchez, 38, and both appeared on a list of Spain’s most wanted.
Troitino, who has the Basque nickname ‘Antxon’, was convicted of 22 murders for being a member of the notorious Aizkora commando unit that carried out a series of bomb attacks in the 1980s including a car bombing in Madrid that killed 12 police officers.
He was arrested in 1987 and sentenced to over 2,000 years in prison.
However under Spanish penal law at the time, the maximum time in jail was 30 years and he was released in April last year having serving just 24 years after good behaviour was taken into account, a decision which provoked public outrage.
Within days the National Court revoked his release and ordered his rearrest but he had already gone into hiding.
The other suspect, Lerin Sanchez, aka ‘Belea’, from Pamplona, is considered one of ETA’s most dangerous terrorists and had been on the run since 2007.
Both were arrested on European Arrest Warrants in a joint operation by Spanish and British police forces.
Spain’s Interior ministry said: “"These arrests have dealt a powerful blow to ETA. Troitino was a key figure in the terrorist organisation and had direct links to the current leadership.”
The arrests have brought the number of ETA members arrested this week to five and to sixteen since the start of the year.
Last October ETA declared “a definitive end to its armed struggle” and has been calling for negotiations from Spanish and French authorities.
The group has killed more than 820 people in a five decade campaign for an independent Basque homeland encompassing parts of southwestern France and northeastern Spain.