AIVD probes Dutch link to 'Spanish terrorists'
20 October 2004 , AMSTERDAM — The Dutch intelligence service AIVD said Wednesday it is investigating a Dutch link to eight people arrested earlier this week for allegedly plotting a bomb attack on the High Court in Madrid. An AIVD spokesman confirmed there was a Dutch link to the suspected Spanish terror cell and that the intelligence service was co-operating closely with Spanish authorities in the investigation.
20 October 2004
AMSTERDAM — The Dutch intelligence service AIVD said Wednesday it is investigating a Dutch link to eight people arrested earlier this week for allegedly plotting a bomb attack on the High Court in Madrid.
An AIVD spokesman confirmed there was a Dutch link to the suspected Spanish terror cell and that the intelligence service was co-operating closely with Spanish authorities in the investigation.
One of the Spanish suspects was arrested in April 2003 in the Dutch town of Geleen based on AIVD information allegedly implicating him in the forging of passports for a terrorist network.
The man was never convicted in the Netherlands, but was eventually deported and moved to Spain, the AIVD spokesman said.
Another person arrested in Spain — identified as Abdol H. — has a Dutch passport. He was arrested in the Spanish coastal resort Almerìa and possibly originates from Algeria. His movements are also being investigated by the AIVD in co-operation with Spanish authorities.
The alleged leader of the group — who is currently being detained in a Swiss jail — has been identified as 30-year-old Algerian Mohammed Achrat. He is suspected of having links to both the Netherlands and Belgium, Spanish press agency Europapress reported.
Achrat was reportedly arrested in Switzerland several days ago and this brings the number of suspects arrested in recent days to nine. He is suspected of recruiting volunteers — primarily in prison — to fight in a Jihad, or Islamic holy war and of sending money to the Netherlands, Belgium and Australia. It is unclear who he allegedly sent the funds to and for what purpose. The AIVD is also investigating these allegations together with the Spanish authorities.
A spokeswoman for the national office of the Dutch public prosecutor — which is carrying out investigations into terrorist activities in the Netherlands — had earlier confirmed that Spanish authorities had been in contact with Dutch justice officials.
The AIVD has estimated at least 100 Islamic extremists are active in the Netherlands and the Dutch government issued a terror warning on 9 July. An 18-year-old man considered responsible for the alert is facing trial on allegations he was preparing a bomb attack.
Meanwhile, the alleged leader of the suspected Spanish terror is suspected of inks to the Algerian terror movement, Armed Islamic Group (GIA). He had served time in Spain for various offences, but was released in 2002. The Swiss Justice Ministry has not received an extradition request from Spain.
Spanish police arrested the eight suspected Islamic militants in the cities Pamplona, Valencia, Almería, Malaga and Madrid on Monday and Tuesday.
Judicial sources said the suspects were allegedly planning a bomb attack against the High Court in Madrid, using a truck filled with 500kg of explosives.
At least four of the detainees are of Algerian ancestry. One of them is from Morocco and another is from Ceuta, the Spanish enclave in North Africa. Most of the suspects have served prison terms in Spain for non-terrorist related offences.
Among cash and documents seized, police also found a "manual of martyrdom" in which the suspects allegedly said they planned to blow themselves up. No weapons or explosives were found, but Achrat allegedly wanted to buy these from a Spaniard.
The interior ministry said further arrests could be imminent as police moved against what was described as an active Islamic militant group, Expatica Spain reported.
The eight suspects were also allegedly planning an attack on investigative judge Baltasar Gárzon and Juan del Olmo, who is leading investigations into the Madrid train bombings on 11 March, in which 191 people were killed.
Radio broadcaster Cadena SER quoted sources saying the suspects were not linked to those suspected of carrying out the Madrid bombings.
[Copyright Expatica News 2004]
Subject: Dutch news