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Five massacre suspects appear in court

Published on 18/03/2004

18 March 2004

MADRID – Five suspects held in connection with the Madrid bombings were appearing at closed-door hearings Thursday.

The three Moroccans and two Indians were arrested Saturday.

The questioning comes after Spain’s outgoing Interior Minister Angel Acebes said Wednesday the inquiry had reached a “decisive phase”.

He also announced new security measures to protect airports, transport, sports venues and other key installations.

Police are reported to have identified six Moroccans as their main suspects – but only one of them is in custody.

The man, named as Jamal Zougam, is reported to have been identified by people who survived Thursday’s blasts, in which 201 people died and 1,600 were injured.

Zougam, who ran a phone shop in Madrid, was arrested Saturday with two other Moroccans and two Indians.

Acebes would not reveal more about the investigation.

“Any information I could give you would be prejudicial,” he said.

But he added “international connections” were one of the areas the police were working on.

According to Spain’s El Pais newspaper, police believe last Thursday’s attacks on packed commuter trains were carried out by people linked to the Moroccan Islamic Combatant Group, which is “financed by al-Qaeda”.

Police are reported to be hunting for 20 Moroccans in connection with the attacks.

The Catalan newspaper El Periodico reported that police in Barcelona had launched a huge search in the city’s North African community.

Meanwhile, an Algerian man, who allegedly threatened mass bloodshed in Madrid, has appeared before a judge.

“We will fill Madrid with the dead,” Ali Amrous reportedly shouted at officers in January during a police check.

He was re-arrested on Tuesday.

After a closed hearing on Wednesday, anti-terror Judge Baltasar Garzon extended his detention for another 48 hours to give police more time to investigate him.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news