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article imageKey dates in history of Basque group ETA

By AFP     May 2, 2018 in World

Key dates in the history of the armed Basque separatist movement ETA, which announced it had fully disbanded in a letter published on Wednesday.

- Fight against dictatorship -

- July 31, 1959: ETA (Euskadi Ta Askatasuna) is formed during the dictatorship of General Francisco Franco by a group of Basque nationalist students.

- June 7, 1968: ETA shoots dead the police chief of the Basque city of San Sebastian -- the first deadly attack for which it claimed responsibility.

Over four decades ETA will be blamed for at least 829 deaths.

- December 20, 1973: Luis Carrero Blanco, Franco's prime minister and presumed successor, is blown up in his car in Madrid -- one of ETA's most notorious attacks.

- Paramilitary death squads -

- October 15, 1977: Two years after Franco's death, a general amnesty for political prisoners, including from ETA, is declared by Spain's first post-Franco democratic government.

- October 25, 1979: The Basque region is granted autonomous status.

- 1980: ETA's most deadly year, with at least 92 people killed in attacks.

- December 1983: Emergence of GAL, a paramilitary group which kills 28 Basque militants through 1987.

- June 19, 1987: ETA stages its deadliest bombing, killing 21 shoppers at a Barcelona supermarket car park.

- July 12, 1997: ETA shoots a conservative town councillor in the Basque country who dies of his wounds the next day. Millions take to the streets in protest.

- Broken ceasefires -

- September 16, 1998: ETA announces a unilateral and unlimited ceasefire, which it goes back on in late 1999 after the failure of talks with the government.

- March 17, 2003: Batasuna, ETA's political wing created in 1978, is outlawed.

- March 22, 2006: ETA declares a "permanent ceasefire" in return for talks with the government.

- December 30, 2006: ETA claims responsibility for a bombing at Madrid airport that kills two people, breaking the ceasefire. ETA carries out seven more attacks by summer 2009.

- November 17, 2008: ETA's military chief Garikoitz Aspiazu Rubina is arrested in France. His five successors are arrested in turn.

- August 9, 2009: ETA carries out its last attacks on Spanish soil. Its last victim is a French policeman killed during a chase in the Paris region in March 2010.

- End of armed struggle -

- October 20, 2011: ETA announces "the definitive end to its armed activity", but declines to formally disband or disarm. A month later the leftist separatist coalition Amaiur, an offshoot of Batasuna, gains seats in the Spanish parliament.

- November 24, 2012: ETA says it may discuss disbanding if jailed members are moved to prisons nearer home. Spain refuses to negotiate.

- April 8, 2017: ETA announces its "total disarmament" and begins surrendering weapons to the French authorities.

- Dissolution -

- February 22, 2018: ETA starts to vote on its dissolution, the Basque daily Gara reports.

- April 20, 2018 - ETA apologises for the "pain" and "harm" it caused during its armed campaign. It asks for forgiveness from some of its victims -- those "not involved in the conflict".

- May 2, 2018: Spanish media publish a letter sent by ETA to groups involved in peace efforts, in which the group announces its full dissolution. A further direct declaration is expected in the coming days.

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