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Beckham met bomb suspect

24 March 2004
MADRID -David  Beckham came face to face with Madrid bomb suspect Mohamed Bakkali weeks before the massacre that killed 190 people, it was reported Wednesday.

Beckham  met the 31-year-old Real Madrid fan at the team’s training camp near the Spanish capital.

He even signed a birthday card to Bakkali, since charged with murder over the attacks.

Spanish police found the card in Bakkali’s Madrid flat when they arrested him two days after the bombings.

The mobile phone repair man regularly visited Real’s Las Rozas training camp for autographs.

Beckham, 28, signed his card “To Mohamed” and wrote “Happy Birthday”.

A friend of the Real Madrid midfielder said: “David tries to sign autographs whenever fans ask. Lots of them turn up at training sessions hoping to meet him. It’s terrifying to think he met one of the bombers face to face.”

Bakkali’s cousin Zaki, 38, yesterday confirmed the suspect regularly went to watch the team at the training ground.

He said: “Mohamed knew Real’s history like a sports commentator. He went to all their matches and training sessions.”

Real spokeswoman Marta Sant Estaban confirmed Bakkali visited the training camp, near Beckham’s home in the El Plantio area of Madrid.

She said: “I knew he’d been here but we can’t stop people waiting for the players.”

Moroccan-born Bakkali, whose birthday is in June, faced court last week over the March 11 bombing.

He will appeared again Wednesday  with four other suspects.

Nine people have been charged in connection with the attacks.

Police are thought to believe the bombs may have been made in Bakkali’s phone shop.

Authorities have reduced  the death toll from 202 to 190 after tests showed body parts at the scene belonged to identified victims.

Spaniard Jose Manuel Suarez Trashorras, 27, admitted in court to supplying more than 100kg of explosives used in the terrorist attacks.

                               Subject: Spanish news