Founded in 1959 with the aim of establishing an independent homeland based on Marxist principles encompassing the Spanish Basque provinces of Vizcaya, Guipuzcoa, Alava, as well as the autonomous region of Navarra, and the southwestern French Departments of Labourd, Basse-Navarra, and Soule. Recent Spanish counterterrorism initiatives are hampering the group’s operational capabilities. Spanish police arrested 125 ETA members and accomplices in 2003; French authorities arrested 46, including the group’s top leadership; several other members were arrested in Latin America, Germany, and the Netherlands. In March 2003, a Spanish Supreme Court ruling banned ETA’s political wing, Batasuna. Spain currently holds 572 ETA members in prison, while France holds 124. First designated in October 1997.
Primarily involved in bombings and assassinations of Spanish Government officials, security and military forces, politicians, and judicial figures. During the summer of 2003, ETA targeted Spanish tourist areas. In 2003, ETA killed three persons, a similar figure to 2002’s death toll of five, and wounded dozens more. The group has killed more than 850 persons and injured hundreds of others since it began lethal attacks in the early 1960s. ETA finances its activities primarily through extortion and robbery.
Unknown; hundreds of members plus supporters.
Location/Area of Operation
Operates primarily in the Basque autonomous regions of northern Spain and southwestern France but also has attacked Spanish and French interests elsewhere.
Has received training at various times in the past in Libya, Lebanon, and Nicaragua. Some ETA members allegedly have received sanctuary in Cuba while others reside in South America.