22 alleged Kurd rebel backers arrested in Spain, France; some suspected of extortion

Spanish and French authorities have arrested 22 alleged members of the Kurdistan Workers Party, and those detained in Spain are suspected of extortion to finance the operations of the rebel group seeking autonomy for Turkey's Kurds.

Spain's Interior Ministry says six of those taken into custody were detained in Madrid, Barcelona and the southern city of Murcia. Authorities also raided seven places linked to the suspects.

The ministry said in a statement Tuesday that French authorities cooperating with their Spanish counterparts in the same operation made 16 arrests. The statement said French police also seized €28,000 ($37,600) and two firearms.

The conflict in Turkey between the Kurdish group, also known as the PKK, and government forces has claimed tens of thousands of lives since 1984.