Inquiry into terrorist car fiasco
26 July 2004, MADRID - An investigation was underway Monday into why a second car used by terrorists behind the Madrid bombings was not discovered for over three months – even though it was standing 20 metres from a van loaded with detonators by the same terrorists.
26 July 2004
MADRID - An investigation was underway Monday into why a second car used by terrorists behind the Madrid bombings was not discovered for over three months – even though it was standing 20 metres from a van loaded with detonators by the same terrorists.
The car had been left standing near a Kangoo-make van in which detonators and audio-cassettes with verses from the Koran were discovered the day of the train bombing outrages on 11 March.
An internal inquiry has been launched to discover why the car had not been picked up until 13 June, after repeated warnings from someone who lived nearby.
But after examination, the car has revealed key traces of suspects, said Interior Minister Jose Antonio Alonso.
Found at Alcala de Henares, the station where the bombs were loaded on to trains, the car contained evidence of a suspect who had later blown himself up with six others, as well as that of a man currently on the run.
"Genetic traces of the seventh suicide case in Leganes have been discovered together with those of a fugitive, a suspected terrorist and thus a very dangerous person whose whereabouts are unknown to us," the minister told a press conference.
The Madrid suburb Leganes is where seven people blew themselves up in a flat on 3 April. A police officer was also killed.
A DNA sample found in the abandoned car matched that of the as yet unidentified seventh member of the group.
The fugitive has been identified as a 28 year-old Moroccan called Mohammed Afalah, sought by a Spanish examining magistrate leading investigations into the 11 March bombings in which 191 people were killed and more than 1,500 people were injured.
Two audio tapes were found in a case in the car, a Skoda Fabia make. One tape was blank and the other contained appeals to martyrdom, the minister said.
Alonso said he was seeking an explanation as to why the second vehicle had not been secured at the same time as the first.
He said on 13 June a resident of Alcala de Henares, had warned police about a car left parked for some time.
Police established that it was a stolen rental car and informed the rental firm Hertz, without establishing a link with the 11 March bombings.
The company had then recovered the car and found the case during cleaning.
They informed police, who in turn established that the car had been stolen from a French client at Benidorm in eastern Spain last September.
Forensic experts carried out DNA tests this month and submitted a report to the state attorney's department last Wednesday.
According to a report by the radio station Spanish radio station Cadena Ser, the cassette recovered from the car contained the words: "We must start the revolution, for it is better to die than live amid humiliation."
Answering right-wing opposition critics who have condemned what they called a news blackout over the latest car discovery, the interior minister insisted police had had to conduct their investigations without publicity.
It was only on Saturday that the Spanish media revealed the existence of the second vehicle, more than a month after its discovery.
A total of 19 people - including 17 in Spain - and most of them Moroccan,have been held in custody in connection with the 11 March massacre. Police are seeking a further six.
[Copyright EFE with Expatica]
Subject: Spanish news