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Police insist they were notwarned of terror attacks

27 July 2004

MADRID – The police ‘handlers’ of two suspected terrorists who were also police informers told the inquiry into the massacre  they were not warned of the terrorist attacks, it was reported Wednesday.

Police officers from the Central Operations Unit, an intelligence unit of the Guardia Civil, were the controllers of  Rafá Zouhier and Emilio Suárez Trashorras.

An officer, named only as Victor, controlled Zouhier, who is accused of helping the Islamic radicals to get the Goma 2 Eco explosives used in the 11 March attacks in which 191 people died.

The captain of the same unit, named only as ‘Paco’ and who controlled Zouhier, was also due to appear.

Zouhier has claimed that he warned police of the terrorist attacks before they happened, although police have denied this.

After he appeared before a judge, authorities concluded Zouhier had not warned of the bombings.

But both ‘Victor’ and ‘Paco’ told the inquiry Tuesday they were never warned about the impending terrorist attacks or offered any information after 11 March.

Later, Manuel García Rodríguez, a police inspector in Aviles in Asturias in northern Spain, asked relatives of the victims of the attacks to forgive him for being ‘tricked’ by Trashorras.

He said Trashorras, who is accused of selling  the explosives to the Islamic terrorists, was an occasional contact.

Newspaper reports have claimed the officer was also in touch with Trashorras before and after the bombings but did not inform those investigating the terrorist attacks.

But García Rodríguez claimed Trashorras had not told him anything about his connection with the terrorists.

In a conversation days after the massacre, Trashorras said it had been carried out by “blacks” but did not explain anything more.

The inquiry is trying to establish if the then conservative Popular Party (PP) government had tried to manipulate public opinion in the aftermath of the attacks by repeatedly claiming that ETA had carried out the bombings.

Critics have claimed the PP wanted to try to stop voters in the general election three days later, on 14 March, from voting against them because their support for the invasion of Iraq was said to have provoked the bomb attack by groups linked to al-Qaeda.

The officers were appearing at a special evening hearing because most members of the inquiry were attending a ceremony to pay homage to those killed in the attacks.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news