FBI questions Madrid al-Qaeda suspect

13th April 2004, Comments 0 comments

13 April 2004, MADRID - FBI agents have questioned an Algerian in Spanish custody suspected of belonging to the same al-Qaeda cell as Mohammed Atta, leader of the squad that carried out the September 11 attacks, it was reported Tuesday.

13 April 2004

MADRID - FBI agents have questioned an Algerian in Spanish custody suspected of belonging to the same al-Qaeda cell as Mohammed Atta, leader of the squad that carried out the September 11 attacks, it was reported Tuesday.

Washington sent an official request to Spanish authorities to allow the US delegation to question Khaled Madani, judicial sources said.

The suspect was arrested in Murcia, in south-east Spain, last February during an operation to dismantle an alleged al-Qaeda cell in Spain.

Meanwhile, investigators arrested three other suspects over the weekend in connection with the 11 March Madrid bombings.

The judge in charge of the case, Juan del Olmo, also sent Moroccan Fouad el Morabit to prison, accusing him of playing a direct role in the massacre.

US officials are expected to interrogate another Algerian Tuesday implicated in Osama bin Laden's terrorist network.

Moussa Laoual was arrested the same day as Madani in Torrevieja, in Andalusia, southern Spain.

Authorities allegedly found equipment used to produce false documents, bank statements showing movements of large sums of money and extremist propaganda in the suspects' homes.

The Interior Ministry has accused them of stealing, falsifying and producing all types of identification documents used by al-Qaeda members.

Authorities say some of the documents may have been used to carry out the September 11 attacks on New York and Washington.

Earlier Monday, a Syrian national indicted in Spain for his alleged ties to al-Qaeda denied he had helped finance the Islamic fundamentalist terrorist network.

Muhammed Galeb Kalaje Zouaydi testified before Judge Baltasar Garzon, who indicted him for allegedly financing others linked to Osama Bin Laden.

Kalaje, a.k.a. "Abu Talha," was arrested in November 2001 during the so-called "Operation Date" to dismantle a suspected Al Qaeda cell in Spain, but he was released after being questioned by Garzon.

The judge ordered him re-arrested in April 2002, and he has remained in custody.

But his lawyer, Manuel Tuero, said the money his client sent abroad from Spain and which led to his arrest was destined for his family and works of charity.

The lawyer also said that in his court appearance, his client had explained the contents of a book seized during a raid on his home.

He claimed authorities mistakenly believed was about nuclear weapons.

Tuero said the book in question was a religious work dealing with the sayings of a Muslim prophet written 900 years ago, "when the atom had not yet been discovered."

He said Kalaje had not been questioned about his knowledge of the suspects in the 11 March Madrid terrorist attack.

According to Garzon's indictment, between 1996 and 2001, Kalaje sent some EUR 712,500 from Spain to organizations and people linked to al-Qaeda in a number of countries.

Among the suspect money transfers were "donations" totalling EUR 231,664 to Nabil Sayadi, a suspected Bin Laden operative in Belgium who heads the Global Relief Foundation in Europe.

During the searches of Kalaje's home and firm - Iso Projects and Promotions - authorities also found documents indicating that the suspect sent almost EUR 16,666 to two other suspected members of the al-Qaeda cell in Hamburg, Germany.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]


Subject: Spanish news

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