In collaboration with the Spanish Guardia Civil and within the framework of Operation Nerín, officers of the French General Directorate for Internal Security (DGSI) arrested Mikel Irastorza on Saturday morning who had been on the run from justice, in the French town of Ascain, located in the Pyrenees.

Artola, aged 41, has acted as leader of the terrorist group, controlling all its activities and heading up the leadership structure. He has held this position for over a year, since the French DGSI and the Spanish Guardia Civil arrested David Pla and Iratxe Sorzábal in September 2015.

Two other people were also arrested in the operation for their alleged collaboration with the terrorist group: a man of Spanish nationality and a woman of French nationality, who were harbouring Mikel Irastorza at their home.

The arrest is a harsh blow to ETA as it represents a loss of leadership within the terrorist group and elimination of its management structure responsible for controlling the distribution of the weapons and explosives arsenal that the terrorist group still maintains and uses in its attempts to achieve its strategic objectives.