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Spanish Authorities Arrest 3 Suspected al-Qaida Members


Police in Spain have arrested three men they suspect are members of the al-Qaida network, the group blamed for last year's terrorist attacks in the United States.

Spain's interior minister, Angel Acebes, said two of the suspected al-Qaida members were arrested in Madrid and the other in the eastern Spanish coastal town of Castellon. He said Spanish police also seized a large number of documents and videotapes.

Mr. Acebes said the three suspects were from Syria, but two of them had Spanish citizenship. He said one of them was clearly implicated in the financial operations of an al-Qaida group in Spain that has been broken up.

The Spanish interior minister said the seized videotapes were made during what was supposed to be a tourist trip to the United States in 1997. They included pictures of the Sears Tower in Chicago; Disneyland, Universal Studios, the Golden Gate Bridge in California, the Brooklyn Bridge, the Statue of Liberty, Kennedy airport, and the World Trade Center in New York.

Mr. Acebes said the form and type of the video recordings went beyond tourist curiosity. For example, pictures of the World Trade Center's twin towers were taken from all angles and at varying distances. And pictures of the bridges focused especially on their supports.

The Spanish interior minister said two of the videos showed what he called "terrorist training."

The arrests were the latest in a series of police operations since a Spanish judge launched a crackdown on suspected al-Qaida activities in Spain last November.