- The Washington Times - Saturday, April 11, 2009

MADRID (AP) - Police officers overpowered a man suspected of being a master forger for Basque separatist group ETA after he drew his .357 Magnum revolver on a crowded Paris railway platform, Spain’s Interior Ministry said Saturday.

The ministry said in a statement that Ekaitz Sirvent Auzmendi was captured on Friday afternoon by French and Spanish police as he got off a bullet train that had arrived from Bordeaux at the French capital’s Montparnasse station.

Auzmendi, 29, drew his gun as police moved in to arrest him, but he was swiftly immobilized and his weapon secured, the ministry said.

The suspect was being held Saturday at French anti-terrorism agency facilities in the Paris suburb of Levallois-Perret, French police said.

As well as the weapon, police also seized “a great deal of computer equipment” including a laptop, several hard discs and USB pen drives and many fake French and Spanish identity documents.

The ministry said Auzmendi had been on the run since 2002 and had “a long history within ETA’s terror organization.”

ETA, whose name stands for Basque Homeland and Freedom in the Basque language, has killed more than 825 people since 1968 in a violent campaign for an independent state straddling northern Spain and southwestern France.

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