Madrid bomb suspect had forged Belgian passport
2 April 2004
BRUSSELS – One of the men suspected of organising the 11 March bomb attacks in Madrid was carrying a false Belgian passport, it was reported on Friday.
Citing Spanish sources close to the investigation, Belgian press agency Belga said Jamal Ahmidan, a Morrocan also also known as ‘The Chinaman’, used his fake Belgian identity document to hire a house near to Madrid where he and his accomplices made the bombs used in the fatal train attacks.
The Spanish Judge in charge of the investigation, Juan Del Omo, said that Ahmidan was “directly linked to the other suspects who actually placed the bombs that destroyed the trains.”
The Madrid bombings killed 191 people and injured over 1,400.
The Spanish authorities have issued an international arrest warrant for Ahmidan and for four other men belived to be connected with the bombings. Three of those men were also Moroccans and the fourth was a Tunisian, the authorities said.
Fake or stolen Belgian passports have figured in a worrying number of terror-related incidents in recent years.
The two suicide bombers who posed as TV journalists in order to kill Afghan leader Ahmad Sha Masoud in September 2001 were both carrying Belgian passports.
And several other terror suspects have also been arrested in possesion of Belgian ID.
In 2002 an article in the New York Times magazine described Belgium as “the global capital of identity fraud.”
The same article cited Belgian police sources as saying that 19,050 blank Belgian passports had been stolen since the beginning of the 1990s.
The US State department has also expressed concern about the question.
“The forgery of Belgian passports and theft of Belgian passports have fcilitated terrorists’ ability to travel,” the department said in a a recent briefing note.
[Copyright Expatica News 2004]
Subject: Belgian news