Skip to comments.Spain Arrests 19 Al Qaeda Suspects in Predawn Raid
Posted on 01/24/2003 4:48:41 AM PST by kattracks
BARCELONA, Spain (Reuters) - Spanish police rounded up 19 suspected members of Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network in predawn raids against suspected al Qaeda cells in Barcelona and the surrounding region, officials said on Friday.
Some 180 Spanish police, acting on a request from French authorities, swooped on numerous homes in several cities in the first major operation against suspected Islamic militants in Spain this year, court sources said.
The 19 are believed to be linked to a suspected al Qaeda explosives expert who was arrested in Paris last year with plans to blow up important French buildings.
The operation in Catalonia, in the northeast corner of Spain, began at least a year and half ago when Spain's High Court authorized telephone wiretaps, court sources said.
The first of the detainees were transferred to Madrid for interrogation with the rest to follow, the sources said. They were being held on suspicion of belonging to an armed group.
The nationalities of all the suspects had not been determined, but at least some of them were Algerian, court sources said.
Before Friday's operation, Spain had arrested more than 20 suspects since 2001 believed to have ties to al Qaeda, including eight men suspected of having played a role in the September 11, 2001, airliner attacks on New York and Washington.
The lead hijacker in those attacks, Mohamed Atta, traveled extensively in Spain in the summer before the commercial jets slammed into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
Judicial sources said the ongoing operation was authorized by High Court Judge Guillermo Ruiz Polanco, an investigating magistrate.
Several previous arrests have taken place in the Catalonia region surrounding Barcelona, home to a large contingent of north African and Arab immigrants.
In preparing for the raids, police told local officials they were planning an operation against illegal immigration, state radio said.
The most recent previous arrest in Spain was made on December 26, when an Algerian man was detained in the northern region of La Rioja on suspicion of links to GIA (Armed Islamic Group) and of training at bin Laden's camps in Afghanistan.
And the war on terror receives international cooperation....
With 3000 lives lost in one terrorist operation , capturing the vermin one at a time will send a message...
Spain and Italy have a long history of scores to settle with the deranged followers of Mad Mo. Despite the centuries, the spirit of El Cid seems to live on in Spain. Would that the spirit of Charles Martel be revived amongst the Froggies.
Within the last few hours, the National Police have arrested 16 persons linked to the al Qaeda terrorist network in Catalonia, 10 of whom are being taken to Madrid. The arrests occurred in Barcelona, Gerona, Santa Coloma de Gramanet, Banyoles and Olot, among other places. It appears that those arrested had trained in al Qaeda camps and established residency in Spain. Sources have told Cope [a radio station] that the Police seized electronic materials for the manufacture of explosives, timers and various chemical products, including two drums of chemical products and resins, components used to produce explosives...
The police raid has permitted the dismantling of what was considered to be the logistical center of al Qaeda in Europe, made up of a group referred to as the Afghanis. These were terrorists from North Africa, mainly Algerians, who had been trained directly in the terrorist camps of Bin Laden in Afghanistan. The operation was initiated after the detention of Be Sakria in Alicante [city on Mediterranean coast of Spain] in 2001....
The arrests were precipitated by recent police raids in France and Great Britain...
The persons detained today gathered funds by using cloned credit cards and selling clothing with counterfeit labels. [italics mine]
I thought the last was rather interesting, since when I have been in Spain (or in NYC, for that matter), I have often wondered about the use of the income from the sale of "Gucci" bags and "Rolex" watches by street vendors. It's untraceable, of course, and appears to be merely a low-level type of scam, so it's probably been a perfect source of income for these creeps.
Remember that the Spaniards also nabbed that freighter carrying NKorean SCUDS to Yemen...
The French, craven (and greed-driven) as they are with regard to international security, and doomed as they are having ghettoized their immigrant population, have snatched up terrorists at every opportunity, and have had little compunction about holding them even without criminal proceedings.
The French have been pitching a huge fit with the British, even before 911, about allowing known terrorists and instigators of terror to operate freely on their soil. Still it took the Ricin plot and the murder of a police officer before the British finally began to clean out the sewers. It must suck when the French are complaining that you are soft in the WOT!
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