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Spain Arrests 5 More Suspected al-Qaida Collaborators


Police in Spain have arrested five more suspected collaborators with the al-Qaida terrorist organization. The arrests are a part of the ongoing investigation into al-Qaida activity in Spain.

The day after a Spanish High Court Judge issued an indictment charging Osama bin Laden and 34 other al-Qaida members of terrorist crimes, including the September 11, 2001, attacks in the United States, Spanish police arrested five suspected members of the terrorist organization. Spanish Interior Minister Angel Acebes confirmed that the five men were arrested on the orders of Judge Baltasar Garzon and said the operation was part of the ongoing investigations of al-Qaida operations in Spain.

Two of the five were arrested in Madrid, one near the southeastern town of Alicante and two near Granada in southern Spain. The last two were of Syrian origin. One of them was found with false documents belonging to Senmaran Nasser, one of the most wanted leaders of al-Qaida.

Along with al-Jazeera satellite channel journalist, Taysir Allouni, those two allegedly helped coordinate a group of young Muslims in and around Granada. Taysir Allouni, also of Syrian origin but with Spanish citizenship, was arrested earlier this month and was included in the indictment of 35 al-Qaida suspects issued by Judge Garzon on Wednesday.

Police say the Moroccan, Sadrik Merizak, who was arrested near Alicante, had a level-three status within Al Qaida which means he is a highly trained terrorist prepared to carry out a suicide attack. Authorities have a photograph of him next to Abu Dahdah, arrested at the end of 2001 as the suspected head of al-Qaida in Spain.

Police allege Merizak trained at an al-Qaida camp in Afghanistan. The two men arrested in Madrid are also linked by Judge Garzon to Abu Dahda, as well as to one of the al-Qaida agents in Germany believed to have helped plot the September 11, 2001, attacks.