Expatica news

Canarys terror suspect charged with Madrid murders

21 December 2004

MADRID-One of the four suspected Islamic terrorists arrested in the Canary Islands has been charged with the murder of 191 people in the Madrid bombings.

Hassan El Haski, 41, who was wanted for his suspected role in the 11 March attacks on commuter trains in the Spanish capital, was remanded in custody.

Haski has denied the charges during an appearance in court.

He is believed by Spanish police to be “the head at the European level” of the Islamic Group of Moroccan Fighters.

The group was founded in the 1990s by Moroccans who had fought the former Soviet-installed regime in Afghanistan.

Another Spanish daily, ABC, said he was also suspected of being behind the murder of the Dutch filmmaker Theo Van Gogh on 2 November in Amsterdam.

It said police in the Netherlands “have informed the Spanish police of its suspicions that he could be the person who ordered or planned the attack”.

The four Moroccans were arrested on Friday on suspicion of membership of a radical Islamic group.

They were to appear before Judge Baltasar Garzon, Spain’s leading anti-terrorist judge in Madrid.

Investigators said the group was about to set up a logistical base in the archipelago off the coast of northwest Africa.

It is believed to be part of the extremist Jihad Salafist Movement and to have ties to Osama bin Laden’s Al-Qaeda network, they added.

The others arrested on the island of Lanzarote were the imam of the village of Puerto del Carmen, Abdallah Mourib, Ali Fahimi, 31, and Brahim Atia El Hammouchi, 40.

Haski, who was born in Guelmin, Morocco, has been under investigation for his suspected ties to the Islamic Group of Moroccan Fighters, which is suspected of having carried out bomb attacks in Casablanca in May last year that killed 45 people.

El Haski was transferred to Madrid late on Saturday in a military plane, with his three suspected accomplices. The four were expected to appear in Spain’s highest court on Monday.

El Mundo said that his arrest came after a tip-off from French intelligence that a “potentially very dangerous” Islamic extremist was on the Canary Islands.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news