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Spain: Three Suspected Al Qaeda Members Arrested

Translated Tuesday 14 August 2012, by Gene Zbikowski

Three members of Al Qaeda have been arrested for possession of explosives in southern Spain. According to the Spanish Ministry of the Interior, they were preparing a bombing in Spain and intended to go to France.

“There are clear indications that the arrested men may have been preparing bombings in Spain and/or abroad,” the minister, Jorge Fernandez Diaz, said in a press conference. This is “one of the biggest investigations to date conducted on an international scale against the Al Qaeda terrorist organization,” he emphasized. “Explosive materiel,” the minister added, which is “particularly destructive” and even able to “destroy a bus” was discovered in an apartment in La Linea de la Concepcion, an Andalusia village near Gibraltar, in southern Spain, where one of the three men was arrested.

Several raids in jihadist circles have been conducted over the past few years in Spain, since the islamist bombings which caused 191 deaths on commuter trains in Madrid on March 11, 2004. But this is the first time that the authorities have established, in so precise a manner, a foiled bomb plot. Two of the suspects, who are from “former Soviet republics,” are said to be “members of Al Qaeda, and extremely dangerous individuals. They were arrested in Cuidad Real province, south of Madrid, Fernandez Diaz said. One of the two “is a very important cadre in Al Qaeda, at an international level,” he added.

According to the press, the two men are either two Chechens, or else a Russian and a Chechen. The third suspect, who was arrested in La Linea de la Concepcion, is the logistics expert of the cell, and is a Turkish national, Fernandez Diaz said.

Since the 2004 bombings, arrests of radical Islamic activists have occurred in different regions of Spain, notably in Catalonia, in the northeast, and in Valencia, in the east. In June the police had arrested in Melilla, a Spanish enclave located in the far north of Morocco, two Spaniards, presumed members of a radical Islamist cell, who are suspected of having tortured and murdered two men in 2008 who had attempted to leave the organization. Last March, the courts also placed under temporary arrest a Saudi Arabian, who was arrested in Valencia, for “the crime of suspected membership in a terrorist organization” close to Al Qaeda.

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