Expatica news

Security clampdown across Spain

6 April 2004

MADRID – Armed police were patrolling Madrid’s metro system Tuesday as Spain increased security after recent terrorist attacks.

Fast-track check-in points at Madrid’s Barajas airport were closed and the army was guarding key road and rail links.

Police said they were hunting for remaining members of a terror cell wanted for the Madrid train bombs.

The attack’s alleged mastermind and at least four others blew themselves up when surrounded in a flat Saturday.

Anti-terrorist sources said further human remains found late Monday in the rubble of the Madrid building where the suspects had been holed up were being examined.

Investigations are under way to determine whether there had been a sixth person in the flat.

Meanwhile, the security services continued to examine a fax purportedly sent by Al-Qaeda which threatened to turn Spain “into an inferno” if the country did not pull its troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan.

The fax, written in Arabic, was sent by a group calling itself ‘Al-Qaeda in Europe’.

It praised the “blessed attacks” of the 11 March and the bomb which was discovered on Friday on the high-speed AVE rail link between Madrid and Seville.

The fax which was sent to the right-wing ABC newspaper on Saturday.

Security sources told EFE they want to see if it is a genuine message from the terrorists and if it can help the investigation into the terrorist attacks.

The National Intelligence Centre (CNI ), Spain’s secret service, was also said to be working with police to  “verify the authenticity” of the fax.

The newspaper contacted police after receiving the fax, dated Saturday 6.05pm.

It demanded the “immediate and complete” withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan and Iraq and the “promise not to return to those countries”.

The group also demanded that Spain stopped supporting the United States and its allies “against Islam and Muslims”.

If Spain did not comply with these demands, the group promised to “convert your country into an inferno and make your blood flow like rivers”.

Referring to the bomb planted on the Madrid-Seville rail line, it said: “We had the possibility to blow up the trains which used the line last Thursday afternoon and Friday morning and we did not do it.

“Our objective was only to show that we had the capability and the force  to attack you when we want and how we want”.

The newspaper explained that sources at the CNI have linked this group with those involved in the 11 March attacks in Madrid.

Security sources also said that the language used in the fax was “very similar” to a video which was sent to a television channel after the Madrid bombings and they could have been made by the same person.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news