Expatica news

Dutch link to Spanish terror arrests

20 October 2004

AMSTERDAM — The alleged leader of the eight terrorist suspects arrested earlier this week on fears they were planning a bomb attack against the High Court in Madrid has been linked to the Netherlands, it was reported Wednesday.

The man — who is currently being detained in a Swiss jail — has been identified as 30-year-old Algerian Mohammed Achrat. He is suspected of having links to both the Netherlands and Belgium, Spanish press agency Europapress reported.

Spanish newspaper El Pais also said one of the other arrested men had a Dutch passport.

Achrat was reportedly arrested in Switzerland several days ago. He is suspected of recruiting volunteers to fight in a Jihad, or Islamic holy war and of sending money to the Netherlands, Belgium and Australia. It is unclear who he allegedly sent the funds to and for what purpose.

A spokeswoman for the national office of the Dutch public prosecutor — which is carrying out investigations into terrorist activities in the Netherlands — said the Spanish authorities had been in contact with Dutch justice officials.

But Spain has not yet officially requested help with the investigation from the Netherlands, Dutch news agency ANP reported.

The spokeswoman could not confirm whether the arrests in Spain would lead to an investigation in the Netherlands.

The Dutch intelligence service AIVD has estimated at least 100 Islamic extremists are active in the Netherlands and the Dutch government issued a terror warning on 9 July. An 18-year-old man considered responsible for the alert is facing trial on allegations he was preparing a bomb attack.

Meanwhile, the Algerian was arrested in Switzerland on request from Spanish authorities and is suspected of holding links to the Algerian terror movement, Armed Islamic Group (GIA). He had served time in Spain for various offences, but was released in 2002.

Spanish police arrested the eight suspected Islamic militants in the cities Pamplona, Valencia, Almería, Malaga and Madrid on Monday and Tuesday.

Judicial sources said the suspects were allegedly planning a bomb attack against the High Court in Madrid, using a truck filled with 500kg of explosives.

Among cash and documents seized, police also found a “manual of martyrdom” in which the suspects allegedly said they planned to blow themselves up.

The interior ministry said further arrests could be imminent as police moved against what was described as an active Islamic militant group, Expatica Spain reported.

The eight suspects were also allegedly planning an attack on investigative judge Baltasar Gárzon and Juan del Olmo, who is leading investigations into the Madrid train bombings on 11 March, in which 191 people were killed.

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: Dutch news