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Spain Arrests 2 Suspected al-Qaida Members - 2002-01-19


Spanish police have arrested two suspected members of the al-Qaida network in a suburb of Barcelona.

Spanish police made the arrests Saturday in a suburban Barcelona apartment. According to the Ministry of the Interior, one of the suspects is Algerian and the other is Moroccan. Police had been searching for them since the arrest in November of eight other suspected members of an extremist Islamic cell linked to al-Qaida in Madrid and Granada.

The Interior Ministry said the two suspects just arrested had stayed in the Madrid apartment of Luis José Galan, alias Yusuf Galan, considered by security officials to be a leader of an al-Qaida cell in Spain. The two fled to the Barcelona area after Mr. Galan's arrest.

The arrests Saturday were ordered by High Court Judge Baltasar Garzon, the man in charge of the so-called "Operation Datil." At the time of the November arrests he said he had sufficient evidence to prove that the eight suspects were directly linked to the preparation and carrying out of the attacks in New York and Washington by suicide pilots last September 11.

Judge Garzon also said that the eight formed part of the support and development structure of the al-Qaida organization's criminal activities. They were linked to six Algerians arrested in Spain on September 26 and jailed on charges of belonging to an Algerian extremist organization allegedly financed by Osama bin Laden.

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