updated 5/18/2005 1:50:58 PM ET 2005-05-18T17:50:58

A Spanish judge indicted 13 suspected Islamic extremists Wednesday on charges of belonging to al-Qaida and said some of them probably took part in last year’s train bombings in Madrid.

The indictment said the suspects, mostly Moroccans, had formed two terror cells in 2002 — one in Morocco and one in Madrid — and concluded that after Spain sent peacekeeping troops to Iraq that year, the country was “an enemy of Islam and therefore it was necessary to stage an attack” in Spain.

The 13 men were arrested in raids starting last October after police claimed to have foiled a planned suicide truck bombing to blow up the National Court, the hub of Spain’s investigation of Muslim extremism, including last year’s train bombings in Madrid.

However, the indictment issued by Judge Fernando Grande-Marlaska did not specifically accuse them of planning to destroy the court. It only charged them with belonging to a terrorist group, namely al-Qaida. Mohamed Achraf, the jailed Algerian suspected of masterminding that plot, was not among those indicted Wednesday.

Four of the 13 men indicted are fugitives. Eight are in jail in Spain and one is in prison in Morocco in connection with bombings in the Moroccan city of Casablanca in May 2003.

The cells were formed in 2002 by that jailed man, Mustafa Maymouni, who was recruited by fugitive Moroccan Amer Azizi, a suspect in both the Madrid train bombings and Sept. 11, the 10-page indictment said.

The finer points of holy war
In Madrid, the cell held long meetings at which members discussed how to wage holy war, or jihad. The sessions continued after Maymouni left Spain in May 2003 and was arrested in Morocco, and “with a high degree of probability” some of those indicted Wednesday took part in the train bombings, the judge said.

“The reasons they gave for defending jihad were that Muslims were persecuted by infidels, mainly in England, the United States and Spain, so they had to make them suffer through bombings, robbing them, blowing themselves up or any other way that would harm them anywhere in the world,” the indictment said.

The indictment said the Madrid cell also included two key suspects in the March 11, 2004, train bombings in Madrid — Moroccan Jamal Zougam and Egyptian Rabei Osman.

But the judge said he is not indicting them in this case because they are already under investigation over the train bombings, which killed 191 people. No indictments have yet been issued over that attack.

The same applies to Moroccan Driss Chebli, currently on trial in Madrid as one of 24 suspected members of another al-Qaida cell. He and two other suspects are charged specifically with helping plot the Sept. 11 attacks.

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