IMAGE: Spain suspects arrested
Spanish National Police  /  EPA via Sipa Press
A television grab handed out by the Spanish National Police on Wednesday shows the arrest of an alleged Islamic militant in Madrid.
updated 6/15/2005 7:17:01 AM ET 2005-06-15T11:17:01

Spanish police arrested 11 people linked to the Islamic terror network run by Abu-Musab al-Zarqawi, and another five suspects in the Madrid train bombings of last year, police said Wednesday.

Some 500 Spanish police took part in raids that led to the arrests, the Interior Ministry said in a statement.

Al-Zarqawi is accused of being al-Qaida's main operative in Iraq and responsible for the bloodiest terror attacks there.

The ministry said the group of 11 people belonged to a terrorist network that was established in Spain and linked to Ansar al-Islam, which it called the group run by Zarqawi.

It said they were arrested in Barcelona, Valencia, the southern Andalusia region and Ceuta, a Spanish enclave on the northern coast of Morocco, but did not specify when.

The other five were linked to last year's commuter train bombing in Madrid, which killed 191 people and wounded more than 1,500. They were arrested Tuesday in Madrid and Barcelona, the statement said.

Agents from a variety of police units took part in the raids, including one specializing in Islamic terror groups and another comprising bomb-disposal experts.

The arrests were ordered by a judge at the National Court, the Madrid-based tribunal that is the hub of Spain's probes of Islamic terror cases, including the train bombings and an al-Qaida cell currently on trial in Madrid. Three of the 24 defendants are charged with helping plot the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in the United States.

A total of 26 people have been jailed over the train bombings, and more than 70 others have been questioned and released but are still considered suspects.

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