Al-Qaeda suspect linked to 1985 Madrid bombing
9 November 2005
MADRID — A Syrian man believed to be a key figure in Osama bin Laden’s terrorist network in Europe has been linked to a bomb attack on a Madrid restaurant 20 years ago in which 18 people were killed.
Mustafa Setmariam Nasar, who is believed to have been arrested last week in Pakistan, has already been linked to the 7 July terror attacks on London.
Nasar, a 47-year-old Syrian with Spanish nationality, has now been identified by a person is in Spain’s witness protection programme as being involved in the bomb attack in 1985.
The attack on the El Descanso restaurant killed 18 people and injured about 100.
The Islamic terrorist organisation Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility at the time.
But the case was closed two years later in 1987 after police failed to make any arrests.
Now a judge at Spain’s Audiencia Nacional court, which deals with the top terrorist cases, has re-opened the case after a witness came forward.
The witness told police they had seen picture of Nasar in newspapers and allegedly recalled seeing someone resembling him outside the restaurant shortly before the blast.
Nasar had been accused by prosecutors in Spain of having a key role in masterminding the Madrid train bombings in March 2004, which killed 191 people.
But this link was later discounted.
Nasar lived in London from 1995 to 1998 and there have been claims that he could have been involved in setting up a “sleeper cell” in the capital.
Several of Nasar’s co-accused over the Madrid bombings have links with the UK.
The two suspects were arrested this week during a raid on a house in Quetta, the capital of Pakistan’s south-west Baluchistan province, according to three Pakistani intelligence officials.
They were detained after a gun battle with security forces, during which a third suspect was shot dead.
Pakistani officials have not yet confirmed that Nasar, who has joint Spanish nationality, is one of the detained men.
Nasar’s name has been widely mentioned in reports citing security officials speaking about the investigation into the 7 July bombings, in which 52 people were murdered on London’s transport system.
[Copyright EFE with Expatica]
Subject: Spanish news