What is Basque separatist group ETA ?

ETA stands for Euskadi ta Askatasuna, or Basque Homeland and Freedom. ETA is fighting for an independent Basque state in northern Spain and southwestern France.

  • The group was founded in 1959 during the dictatorship of General Francisco Franco who suppressed Basque culture and banned the use of its language. His authoritarian regime imprisoned and tortured Basque intellectuals.
  • The group has killed more than 850 people since 1968, typically using car bombs or shootings. Spain, the United States and the European Union have listed ETA as a terrorist organization. The Socialist government broke off peace talks with ETA after the rebels killed two people with a car bomb at Madrid airport in December 2006, the first time ETA had killed since May 2003.
  • One of ETA’s highest profile attacks was the 1973 assassination of Prime Minister Carrero Blanco, killed after his car drove over explosives hidden in a tunnel under a Madrid street. His vehicle was blown over the roof of a monastery, landing on a second-floor balcony on the other side.
  • The last ETA-related fatality was the murder of a French policeman near Paris in March 2010 in a shoot-out — the first French security officer to be killed by ETA.
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