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Spain unable to identify man on alqaida tape

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Spain unable to identify man on 'Al-Qaida' tape, says Interior Minister 2004-03-14 22:44:28

MADRID, March 14 (Xinhuanet) -- The Spanish government has so far been unable to identify a man appearing on a video claiming responsibility for Madrid's train bomb attacks in the name of Al-Qaida, Interior Minister Angel Acebes said on Sunday.

Acebes made the remarks when the general elections were going on throughout the country. The voter turnout has reached 39.5 percent by 2:00 pm local time (1300 GMT), which was 4 percent higher than that of 2000, the Interior Ministry said.

The polling, which started at 9:00 am (0800GMT), was held just three days after train bombings killed at least 200 people and injured more than 1,500 in Madrid on Thursday.

Earlier on Sunday, Acebes told a news conference that "a man dressed like an Arab (and speaking) Arabic with a Moroccan accent claimed responsibility (for the attacks) on behalf of Al-Qaida's military spokesman in Europe." He added the authorities were examining the tape's reliability and would treat it with caution.

According to a government translation of the tape, the man claimed responsibility for the deadly attacks, saying, "This is a response to the crimes that you caused in the world, and specifically in Iraq and Afghanistan, and there will be more if God wills it."

Acebes, who had earlier declared the Basque separatist group ETA was the prime suspect, also announced Saturday the arrest of five suspects, including three Moroccans and two Spaniards of Indian origin, in connection with the bloody bombings.

The Basque separatist group ETA on Sunday denied again that it masterminded the chain bombings.

In an e-mail to the local daily Gara, the outlawed group said the blasts were a result of the Spanish government's support for the US-led war against Iraq.

It also accused the government of Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar and the ruling Popular Party of trying to stigmatize ETA for Sunday's general elections. Enditem

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