9 June 2004
MILAN – The ex-army explosives expert said to be a key figure in the 11 March bomb attacks in Madrid told a friend in a wiretapped telephone conversation that he masterminded the attacks, Italian newspapers reported Wednesday.
“The attack in Madrid was my project and those who died martyrs are my dearest friends,” said Rabei Osman Sayed Ahmed on the tape, according to reports.
Sayed Ahmed, 33, known as “Mohammed the Egyptian”, was arrested in Milan together with a Palestinian in a Europe-wide police operation Tuesday.
Fifteen other Islamic radicals were also arrested in Belgium, while allegedly preparing an attack on Nato.
Sayed Ahmed was taped on 26 May by Italian police talking to his friend Yahia Mouad Mohammed Rajah.
Authorities said he was planning more attacks in Europe when he was arrested.
Bombs exploded almost simultaneously on four commuter trains in and around Madrid on 11 March, killing 192 people and injuring some 1,500 others.
The attacks are believed to have been carried out by Islamic extremists linked to al-Qaeda. Several of those involved in the bombings blew themselves up in a suburban Madrid apartment on 3 April when surrounded by police.
Sayed Ahmed told his friend that he was the mastermind of the Madrid attacks and added: “While I was not there at the time of the incident, the truth is that before the operation, on the fourth, I was in contact with them.
“Don’t even think about saying anything, I operate alone, they work as a team.”
He added, “I wanted a big explosion, but I couldn’t find the means. I had to study a lot for this project and I needed a lot of patience, I needed two and a half years. Don’t even think about saying anything to anyone and don’t talk about it with Jail, not by any means (of communication), not even by phone.”
“Just so you know, what I’ve told you no one in the world knows. All of my friends are dying, one after another, there are those who have sacrificed themselves in Afghanistan and I know many more people who are prepared.”
Sayed Ahmed was said to have revealed two more teams of “martyrs” were preparing for more attacks in Europe.
“I’m telling you, there are two groups prepared for martyrdom. The first leaves on the 20th and the 25th of next month (June) for Iraq, by way of Syria. There are four who are ready for martyrdom. Don’t say anything to anyone,” he said.
At another point in the taped recordings, Sayed Ahmed commented to his friend on “what they’re doing to our brothers in Iraq,” in reference to US troops.
He said: “You see the prisons, the humiliation ….under these conditions isn’t it better to die before being jailed?”
[Copyright EFE with Expatica]
Subject: Spanish news