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Tape threatens more attacks in Spain

Suspected terrorists who blew themselves up in a police raid left behind a videotape threatening more attacks against Spain, officials said Tuesday.
/ Source: The Associated Press

Suspected terrorists linked to the March 11 commuter train bombings and who blew themselves up in a police raid earlier this month left behind a videotape threatening more attacks against Spain because of its plans to send more troops to Afghanistan, the interior ministry said Tuesday.

News of the threats came as officials said investigators had arrested three more suspects in the train bombings, bringing the total in custody to 24.

The badly damaged videotape was found in the rubble of a Madrid apartment where seven suspects in the bombings blew themselves up on April 3 as police move in to arrest them.

In two previously unintelligible sentences on the tape that have now been deciphered by investigators three men claim responsibility for the train bombings in the name of al-Qaida and threaten more bloodshed unless Spain withdrew its troops from Iraq and Afghanistan.

“We will treat you brutally. We will kill you. We will bring war to your homes, and you will not be able to sleep at night,” one of the men says in Arabic, according to a statement from the interior ministry.

Incoming Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, elected days after the train bombings, has pledged to withdraw Spanish troops from Iraq. But he intends to double to 250 the number of Spanish soldiers in Afghanistan.

“Your new ruler has begun his mandate with more fighting against Muslims and sending more crusade troops to Afghanistan,” a man is quoted as saying by the ministry.

The daily El Mundo said investigators also found evidence at the apartment that the alleged terrorists planned to attack a Jewish cemetery outside Madrid.

Officials at the National Court, however, said they had no knowledge of such a plot.

Spain has focused its investigations into the train bombings on the Moroccan Islamic Combatant Group, an al-Qaida group linked organization.

The group is also thought to have ties to another Moroccan terrorist group that has been blamed for last year’s suicide bombings in Casablanca, Morocco, that left 45 people dead.

National Court officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said that two men — Abdelghafour Abderrazzak and Mohamed El Barrouchi — were arrested Monday in the southern port of Malaga.

The Interior Ministry said a third unidentified Moroccan was also arrested in Malaga.

Eighteen people, 14 of them Moroccan, have been charged for their alleged roles the March 11 attacks in which 10 bombs ripped through four trains in Madrid during the morning rush hour commute, killing 191 people and injuring some 1,800.

The six suspects who have not yet been charged were expected to appear before an investigating magistrate later this week.

Spanish authorities say they are still seeking another six suspects.

But officials say the core members of the cell that carried out the bombings are either in jail or were among the seven suspected terrorists who blew themselves up April 3.

Also Tuesday, U.S. intelligence agents spent a second day questioning al-Qaida suspects arrested earlier this year in Spain, the interior ministry said.

FBI agents, accompanied by a Spanish prosecutor, questioned Moussa Laouar, an Algerian, about possible links he may have had to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

A day earlier they questioned another suspect, Khaleb Madani, his alleged links to the attacks in the United States.

Madani and Laouar were arrested in February in southeastern Spain and jailed on suspicion of having forged documents, like passports and visas, for al-Qaida.