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Fugitive terror suspect arrested in Liverpool

Merseyside Police arrested the Spanish terror suspect this morning Photo: PA Wire

A fugitive Spanish terror suspect who has been on the run for 17 years has been arrested in Liverpool.

Alleged Eta member Raul Angel Fuentes Villota was arrested in Liverpool this morning, the Spanish Interior Ministry confirmed.

Villota has been wanted since 1995 and is allegedly responsible for several murders.

A police spokesman said: "Merseyside Police has arrested this morning a 56-year-old Spanish national who was wanted in connection with historic terrorism offences in Spain in 1991.

"Following a period of imprisonment he has since failed to adhere to the conditions of his release and subsequently a European Arrest Warrant was issued for his arrest and return to prison.

"He has been detained and Merseyside Police is liaising with the Spanish Embassy in relation to his extradition."

A statement on the website of the Spanish Interior Ministry says Merseyside Police, in collaboration with the General Information Office of the National Police in Spain, arrested Villota in Liverpool at 9am today.

The statement says Villota, originally from Bilbao, has lived with false documents in the UK and has been "waiting for instructions" from Eta.

According to the Interior Ministry, Villota was recruited in 1990 to join the legal Matalaz Command, under the Command Vizcaya.

Villota and other alleged Eta members were arrested in June 1991 following a shootout after an attempt was made to place a "sticky bomb" on a police officer's car in Vizcaya.

Villota was in custody for four years and released on June 9, 1995.

He subsequently failed to appear in court and a warrant of arrest and detention was issued by Spain's Central Criminal Court on September 6, 1995.

Today's arrest was carried out under a European Arrest Warrant, issued by the Second Criminal Section of the National Court in Spain in June this year.

According to reports another suspected Eta member, Inaki Imaz, was arrested by police in Bayonne, France, yesterday.