No proof Madrid massacre bombs were stolen earlier, police chief says
15 October 2004, MADRID -A senior Guardia Civil officer told the inquiry into the Madrid terrorist attacks Friday an investigation failed to prove explosives were being stolen from a mine in Asturias in northern Spain.
15 October 2004
MADRID -A senior Guardia Civil officer told the inquiry into the Madrid terrorist attacks Friday an investigation failed to prove explosives were being stolen from a mine in Asturias in northern Spain.
Police later found the Goma 2 explosives used in the attacks which killed 191 people were stolen from a mine in this region.
But Colonel Fernando Aldea said an investigation carried out last year failed to show any proof the explosives were stolen in 2003 and sold to terrorists.
His evidence contradicted earlier testimony from an elite Guardia Civil unit called the Central Operations Unit (UCO) which said the explosives were stolen in February 2003.
The inquiry is attempting to establish what happened in the days before and after the attacks on four commuter trains by Islamic extremists.
Two Spaniards, Antonio Toro Castro and a former miner, Emilio Suarez Trashorras, are accused of stealing the explosives and selling them to the terrorists for cash and drugs.
Earlier, a Europol report emerged Thursday confirming that Europol had alerted authorities, more than a month before the deadly 11 March attacks in Madrid, that Al Qaeda was preparing a large-scale operation in Spain.
The pan-European police agency issued the warning on 29 January.
Europol believed 1 and 2 February were the days posing the "highest risk" for Spain and warned of the possibility of an indiscriminate al-Qaeda attack.
Parliamentary sources said Europol warned of attacks on these days after taking into account the usual intervals between al-Qaeda threats and subsequent attacks.
According to the report, the first time Osama bin Laden referred directly to Spain was when a video emerged on 18 October, 2003, "specifically" threatening Italy, Spain, Poland and Britain over their involvement in the US-led occupation of Iraq.
A second Europol report, dated 16 March, issued five days after the attacks, said the "the attacks in Madrid, sadly, seem to confirm the indicated threat," and said that now all the countries in the coalition in Iraq had been hit.
The report questioned whether the date chosen for an attack on Spanish soil, carried out only three days before the elections, was a mere coincidence or a "deliberate move" to sway the elections and therefore, Spain's foreign policy.
Regarding the method of operation used by the authors of the 11 March massacre, Europol considered it "congruent" with the methods used by al-Qaeda.
It also made reference to the first investigations that showed that al-Qaeda had a "local cell" operating in Madrid.
[Copyright EFE with Expatica]
Subject: Spanish news