News and Document archive source
copyrighted material disclaimer at bottom of page

NewsMinewar-on-terroralqaeda — Viewing Item

16 alqaeda spain { January 24 2003 }

Original Source Link: (May no longer be active)

Spain Snares 16 Alleged Al Qaeda Operatives
Bomb-Making Materials Also Seized in Raid

By Peter Finn
Washington Post Foreign Service
Friday, January 24, 2003; 6:13 PM

BERLIN, Jan. 24—Spanish police today arrested 16 suspected al Qaeda operatives in pre-dawn raids that also netted explosives and bomb components, suspected toxic material and manuals on chemical warfare, Spanish officials said. The raid came as police in other European countries have been targeting North Africans whom they suspect of plotting chemical attacks.

Most of the suspects picked up in Spain today were Algerians and had trained in camps in Afghanistan, police said. They appeared to have been in radio communication with Islamic radicals abroad.

Some European and Arab intelligence officers believe the men arrested in past weeks in Britain and France may be part of al Qaeda efforts to use radicals who in the past focussed on establishing Islamic government in their home countries to instead stage a chemical attack in a Western city.

Thousands of men passed through training camps in Afghanistan in the 1990s, but only a select minority were inducted into al Qaeda, officials said. The majority, trained in camps based on nationality, were preoccupied with overthrowing governments in such places as Chechnya and Algeria.

Intelligence officials in recent interviews said that since Sept. 11, the al Qaeda leadership, particularly Ayman Zawahiri, an Egyptian who is believed to be Osama bin Laden's number two, is devoting increasing attention to these national Islamist movements as a vehicle to resuscitate the damaged al Qaeda network.

These officials said that Zawahiri recently sent two Yemeni representatives to Algeria for talks on intensifying cooperation between al Qaeda loyalists and radicals there who have fought for 10 years to install a fundamentalist Islamic government.

While there have always been ties and overlap between al Qaeda and national movements such as the Algerian Salafist Group for Preaching and War, al Qaeda now wants to take them over, according to this theory. Officials said Chechnya and Algeria were regarded by Zawahiri as the best locations for al Qaeda to reconstitute itself while looking for opportunities to hit Western targets.

"Zawahiri wants al Qaeda to become a kind of 'holding company'" for Islamist movements across the globe, said a senior Arab official. The officials said that based on the interrogation of recently captured al Qaeda members, Zawahiri has made a chemical attack the network's number one priority.

This theory seemed to fit with the toxic materials that authorities reported seizing in Spain.

Still, intelligence officials say that groups being used now are relatively unsophisticated, and that Zawahiri has in mind a much larger, more complex chemical attacks. "Zawahiri is looking at something that will take time, two or three years maybe," said one Arab official.

Officials in Spain said today's raids at 12 locations in the northeastern part of the country followed a tip from French intelligence and the suspects had been in contact North Africans recently arrested in both France and Britain.

Following the recent discovery of the deadly toxin ricin in a north London flat, British police arrested seven North Africans. In a later raid, a police officer died after allegedly being stabbed by an Algerian suspect.

The suspects may have been plotting to put ricin in food delivered to a British military base, according to a senior administration official in Washington. One of the North Africans worked for a commercial concern that served food at the base, the official said, making it a "plausible" scenario.

Since only traces of ricin were found, there remains a "serious concern" about what happened to the bulk of the poison, which was in a granular form, he said. The first tip on the cell came through U.S. intelligence gained from an arrest made in another country, the official said. And though no direct connection has been made between the suspects and al Qaeda, at least one person in the chain that led to London had past associations with the Osama bin Laden group.

After today's arrests in Spain, police there said they seized communications equipment that they believed the suspects used to contact Islamic radicals in Chechnya and Algeria.

"Police have broken up a major terrorist network . . . linked in this case to the criminal organization of bin Laden," Aznar told a news conference in La Coruna. "The network had connections with terrorists recently arrested in France and the United Kingdom, and they were preparing attacks with explosives and chemical materials."

Spanish Interior Minister Angel Acebes said that some of the suspects had clearly been preparing to commit attacks in Europe. They also provided other terrorist cells with information and infrastructure, he said, noting that police also seized false documents and credit cards.

Spanish police have aggressively targeted suspected al Qaeda operatives or sympathizers in the country since Sept. 11. Key hijacker Mohammed Atta is believed to have held a final planning meeting in July 2001, in Tarragona, also in northeastern Spain, weeks before the attacks in the United States.

Staff writer Walter Pincus contributed to this article from Washington.

© 2003 Washington Post Newsweek Interactive

15 pakistani troops die in alqaida hunt { March 23 2004 }
16 alqaeda spain { January 24 2003 }
Administration feed terror suspect
Al qaeda detainee spoke of fire plot
Algiers suicide bombers were jailed { December 14 2007 }
Alqaeda 18000 potential at large { May 25 2004 }
Alqaeda algerians in uk { September 14 2003 }
Alqaeda arrest tips effective { March 3 2003 }
Alqaeda arrests { February 4 2003 }
Alqaeda enemy in america
Alqaeda fighters denies being killed on web { September 15 2005 }
Alqaeda fires rockets from jordan hits israel
Alqaeda group may not exist
Alqaeda hobbled by arrest { March 3 2003 }
Alqaeda just bush boogeyman { January 11 2005 }
Alqaeda leader in iraq killed again
Alqaeda myth blown out of proportion { May 23 2002 }
Alqaeda number 2 cites failed pakistan airstrike { January 30 2006 }
Alqaeda opeartive has australian accent { August 10 2005 }
Alqaeda plans oil fields { March 11 2003 }
Alqaeda plot foiled in germany { December 3 2004 }
Alqaeda searches russia
Alqaeda seeks to expand operations { April 20 2007 }
Alqaeda singapore plot
Alqaeda suspect knows saudi prince phone number
Alqaeda tape urges western attacks { May 21 2003 }
Alqaeda targets russell crowe
Alqaeda threat norway doesnt make sense { May 21 2003 }
Alqaeda threatens france for headscarf ban
Alqaeda to help wage sectarian iraq war { February 9 2004 }
Alqaeda video trainig shooting kids { March 9 2003 }
Alqaeda web posts threats { December 8 2002 }
Alqaida accused US of faking alqaeda letter { October 14 2005 }
Alqaida crippled says mossad
Alqaida funded by 12 { October 20 2002 }
Alqaida is 70 percent gone says state department { January 23 2004 }
Alqaida possessed tactical nuclear weapons
Alqaida strike again { October 17 2002 }
Alqeada starts forest fires says fbi
Alzarqawi reportly arrested in iraq
American soldier gave alqaeda information { February 12 2004 }
American voice on new terror video { October 29 2004 }
Assad doubts existance al qaeda
Authorities close muslim school in germany
Bin laden deputy claims US on brink of defeat
Binladen top deputy zawahri sends videotape
Bombing in algeria claimed by new alqaeda branch
Bombings may spur antiterror unity { May 19 2003 }
Briefing depicted saudis as enemies backing terrorism { August 6 2002 }
Britain charges 8 in alqaeda plot { August 18 2004 }
Britain says 1600 british born alqaeda terrorists { November 10 2006 }
Britain sheltering al qaeda leader { July 8 2002 }
British connection alqaida revolving door { February 14 2002 }
British thwart hijacking terror attacks
Bush policies directly funding alqaeda { January 2007 }
Captured alqaeda kingpin is mistaken identity { May 8 2005 }
Cia paid pakistan bounty for alqaida suspects { September 26 2006 }
Cia says iraq recruiting tool for islamic extremists { February 17 2005 }
Citizen convincted alqaeda assassination plot
Colombia busts hamas alqaeda false passport ring
Confusion persists over iraq alqaeda leaders identity { May 10 2008 }
Convincted drug dealer praised in terror plot role { June 4 2007 }
Counterterror analyst says alqaeda at pre911 strength { July 12 2007 }
Dirty bomb
Disinformation alqaeda
Europeans training terrorists in iraq
Experts doubt validity on jfk airport plot { June 5 2007 }
Fbi alert for sleeper cell
Fitandwell un { August 29 2002 }
Fort bragg sergeant aided bilnladen followers { May 20 1999 }
France ricin found
German police raid mosque for islamic extremist videos
Group kidnaps toy soldier in iraq { February 2 2005 }
Group recruits muslims { December 4 2005 }
Gunman attack consulate in saudi arabia { December 6 2004 }
Indonesian islamic groups controlled by intelligence { October 16 2005 }
Intel says alqaeda strong based pakistan border { July 17 2007 }
Iran accuses us not serious { May 28 2003 }
Iraq new terror breeding ground war created haven { January 14 2005 }
Iraq replaces afghanistan as top terror training spot { January 14 2005 }
Iraq terrorists radicalized by occupation of iraq { July 17 2005 }
Iraq war boosted alqaeda { May 20 2003 }
Jet misses hawaii skyrise
Jordanians doubt zarqawi is even alive { November 12 2005 }
Lax shooting
Lebanon alqaeda
Losing africa afghanistan { November 8 2002 }
Malaysia alqaida
Mastermind of madrid { July 29 2004 }
Memo details alqaeda saddam cooperation { November 24 2003 }
MI5 let alqaida in britain
Middle class muslims recuited in british universities { July 10 2005 }
Militants rigged koran with explosives { November 12 2003 }
Military manual advocates employing terrorists { June 15 2008 }
Musharraf says alqaeda not headquartered in pakistan { July 26 2005 }
Mystery shrouds alqaeda escape in yemen
New alqaeda tape reveals video process { January 31 2006 }
New alqaeda treath from southeast asia division { November 30 2005 }
New york bomb plot overblown { July 10 2006 }
New york terror case based on unscrupulous informant { January 9 2007 }
NY police creates terrorism to solve { January 9 2007 }
Officials see signs revived alqaeda { May 17 2003 }
Osama deputy letter says iraq to be islamic
Osama plot kill bush
Pakistan army closes in on alqaeda
Pakistan arrests nations most wanted alqaida militant { May 4 2005 }
Pakistan religious schools in spotlight { July 25 2005 }
Pakistan remains terror hub with US effort { July 25 2005 }
Pakistani army kills al qaeda suspects { October 3 2003 }
Pentagon unit mission to manipulate alqaeda { August 13 2005 }
Pope comments ignite alqaeda response of doom
Ptech terror link { December 7 2002 }
Ptech terror navy fbi
Qaeda sympathisers use rap to recruit { September 11 2001 }
Reid blames zionists { October 3 2002 }
Report says iraq war strenghening alqaeda { July 17 2007 }
Saudi alqaeda chief was saudi police { June 21 2004 }
Saudi amensty program nets alqaeda leaders { July 14 2004 }
Saudi sheik allows bin laden to nuke americans
Shooting at la airport terrorism { April 12 2003 }
Sleeper cells
Soldiers mutilated over iraqi woman rape incident
Spain arrests more alqaeda { September 18 2003 }
Suicide bomber comes from US secret detentions { July 25 2007 }
Suspect says mi5 can clear his name { October 22 2001 }
Suspected alqaeda agents seen everywhere { May 28 2004 }
Syrian leader doubts al qaidas existance { May 26 2003 }
Tape with terror threat is broadcast { October 29 2004 }
Terror suspect paints alqaeda picture in plea bargain
Terrorist factory running at guantanamo bay { June 17 2008 }
The rise of suicide bombing around the world { July 17 2005 }
Top alqaeda expert top candidate for mi5 boss { December 17 2006 }
Top alqaida lieutenants escaped before testifying { November 1 2005 }
Trinidad group denies link to NYC plot { May 2007 }
Truck driver pleads guilty alqaeda plot { June 20 2003 }
Tunisian soccer player convincted alqaida trial
Turkish alqaida group claims responsbiliity for istanbul attacks
Uk says alqaeda making dirty bomb { January 31 2003 }
US allows saudis to finance alqaeda { July 26 2007 }
Us and uk trade terrorism like commodity { September 25 2005 }
Us intelligence says alqaeda ineffecitve
US missile parts at alqaeda target site
US picks new iraq alqaeda leader from jail { July 6 2006 }
US says alqaeda near defeat { May 30 2008 }
US says mossad agent is american alqaeda leader
Us soldier charged in alqaeda sting
War spread terrorism { June 16 2002 }
White man with bomb at capitol gets little attention { April 30 2008 }
White supremacy leader supports alqaeda { March 29 2005 }
World wide hunt 4 alleged members
Yemeni cleric sentenced to terror conspiracy { July 29 2005 }
Zarqawi boogie man may not exist { July 5 2005 }
Zarqawi linked to alqaeda and nothern kurds and saddam { October 9 2004 }

Files Listed: 153


CIA FOIA Archive

National Security
Support one-state solution for Israel and Palestine Tea Party bumper stickers JFK for Dummies, The Assassination made simple