Drug squad 'failed to realise link with bombers'

19th October 2004, Comments 0 comments

19 October 2004, MADRID - The head of the Spanish drugs squad told the parliamentary commission into the Madrid massacre Tuesday his unit knew some of the bomb suspects were trafficking drugs but did not know they were planning a terrorist atrocity.

19 October 2004

MADRID - The head of the Spanish drugs squad told the parliamentary commission into the Madrid massacre Tuesday his unit knew some of the bomb suspects were trafficking drugs but did not know they were planning a terrorist atrocity.

Juan Manuel Calleja said the Drugs and Organised Crime Unit were aware of the activities of Guardia Civil informer Rafá Zouhier, who was later arrested for the bombings.

Ten bombs exploded on four commuter trains killing 191 people and injuring more than 1,500 in what was Spain's worst single attack since the Civil War.

It is alleged the Islamic terrorists who carried out the attacks used the profits from drug dealing to finance the bombings.

Calleja said his officers opened an investigation into the trafficking of drugs in the Madrid area called Parla in December 2003.

In January this year, the investigation moved to Alcala de Henares, a Madrid suburb where the bombers later planted the explosives on the commuter trains at a depot.

On 15 January, Zouhier was heard on a tapped telephone conversation talking to a Guardia Civil contact called 'Victor'.

Four days later, Zouhier was arrested in connection for drug dealing.

Calleja said at no moment did his officers suspect a link between drug dealing and arms dealing.

They intercepted three conversations featuring Yamal Ahmidan, nicknamed 'the Chinese', who was said to be the ringleader of the terrorist group.

Ahmidan, who later blew himself up with six other terrorists at a flat on 3 April, was heard talking to another suspect Otman El Gnaoui.

But officers did not understand the significance of the conversation, which was about bringing the bombs to Madrid.

The commission has asked for a transcript of the conversation.

The appearances of former prime minister Jose Maria Aznar and acting premier Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero will be broadcast live on TV, the commission has decided.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news


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