Country Report on Terrorism 2019 - Chapter 5 - Basque Fatherland and Liberty (ETA)

Aka ETA; Askatasuna; Batasuna; Ekin; Euskal Herritarrok; Euzkadi Ta Askatasuna; Herri Batasuna; Jarrai-Haika-Segi; K.A.S.; XAKI; Epanastatiki Pirines; Popular Revolutionary Struggl

Description:  Designated as an FTO on October 8, 1997, Basque Fatherland and Liberty (ETA) was founded in 1959 with the aim of establishing an independent homeland based on Marxist principles in the Spanish Basque provinces of Alava, Guipuzcoa, and Viscaya; the autonomous region of Navarre; and the southwestern French territories of Labourd, Lower-Navarre, and Soule.

Activities:  ETA has primarily conducted bombings and assassinations against Spanish government officials, businessmen, politicians, judicial figures, and security and military forces; however, the group has also targeted journalists and major tourist areas.  ETA is responsible for killing more than 800 civilians and members of the armed forces and police as well as injuring thousands since it formally began its campaign of violence in 1968.

In December 2006, ETA exploded a massive car bomb, destroying much of the covered parking garage at Madrid’s Barajas International Airport.  ETA marked its fiftieth anniversary in 2009 with a series of high profile and deadly bombings, including the July 2009 attack on a Civil Guard barracks that injured more than 60 people, including children.

ETA has not conducted  any attacks since it announced a “definitive cessation of armed activity” in October 2011.

In 2016, authorities seized ETA weapons, including a cache found in a forest north of Paris, and captured the top ETA leader.  In April 2017, ETA reported that it had relinquished its last caches of weapons.  In May 2018, ETA released a letter announcing the dissolution of its organizational structures.  In a September 2019 mass trial, a Spanish court accepted a plea deal for 47 ETA members to avoid prison sentences for membership in the group.

Strength:  Precise numbers are unknown.

Location/Area of Operation:  Spain and France

Funding and External Aid:  Sources of funding are unknown.