Spain faces more Islamic terror attacks: Europol
3 November 2004, MADRID- Spain still faces a high risk of attack by Islamic militants, Europol chief Mariano Simancas Carrion warned on Wednesday.
3 November 2004
MADRID- Spain still faces a high risk of attack by Islamic militants, Europol chief Mariano Simancas Carrion warned on Wednesday.
Carrion, the acting director of the European Police Office, and former head of its anti-terrorism branch, said the decision by the Socialist government to pull Spanish troops out of Iraq had done nothing to lessen the risk.
Carrion was addressing a parliamentary inquiry into the terrorist attacks against four Madrid suburban trains on March 11, in which 191 people were killed and about 1,900 injured.
Carrion said the defeat of the pro-American government of former prime minister Jose Maria Aznar in the wake of the bombings had done nothing to remove the threat.
Spain continues to figure at the head of the list of countries under the menace of Islamic attack, such as Britain, Poland and Italy, which have sent troops to Iraq, he said, adding that France was also at risk "for other reasons."
Spanish police last month arrested two groups of Islamic radicals whom anti-terrorism judge Baltasar Garzon alleges were plotting to blow up the central criminal court and other landmarks, including two main railway stations, the Real Madrid soccer stadium, the Picasso Tower skyscraper and the
Madrid conference centre.
Carrion confirmed recent newspaper reports that Europol alerted the former conservative government to the likelihood of a terrorist attack a month before the 11 March train bombings.
"Spain knew exactly about the problem and it had taken the necessary measures," he said, but added it was impossible to be 100 percent certain of stopping such attacks.
Regularly updated Europol reports have seen Spain as facing a "clear threat" of attack since 18 October last year, when Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden appeared in a video threatening European countries backing the US-led coalition in Iraq.
Europol considers that several of the Madrid bombers had a close link to leading figures in Al-Qaeda.
[Copyright EFE with Expatica]
Subject: Spanish news