Police have arrested the new suspected head of the banned Basque militant group ETA's military wing and two alleged accomplices, France's interior minister said.

Interior Minister Michele Alliot-Marie hailed the arrests near the southwestern town of Bagneres-de-Bigorre as a new sign of France's strong commitment to fighting ETA.

Her office identified one of the three suspects in a statement Monday as "Balak" — who is believed to be the new leader of the group's military arm after Mikel de Garikoitz Aspiazu, alias Txeroki, was arrested last month.

ETA stands for Basque Homeland and Freedom. The group has killed over 825 people since 1968 in a campaign for a homeland carved from parts of northeastern Spain and southwestern France.