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Spain Arrests 3 Suspected al-Qaida Members

Spanish Interior Minister Jorge Fernandez Diaz, Aug. 2, 2012
Spanish Interior Minister Jorge Fernandez Diaz, Aug. 2, 2012
Spain has arrested three alleged members of the al-Qaida terrorist network. Madrid says the suspects may have been plotting an attack in Spain or in another European country.

The three suspects are all foreigners. Police arrested two of them in central Spain - whom they identified as a Russian and a Chechen. The third, from Turkey, was arrested in the southern part of the country.

At a news conference in Madrid, Spanish Interior Minister Jorge Fernandez Diaz said police had been watching the three for some time. He said the arrests came after close collaboration with what he termed Madrid's "allies."

Fernandez Diaz said there were clear signs the three had been planning a terrorist attack in Spain and/or other European countries. He said all three belonged to al-Qaida.

The interior minister said that in the apartment where they arrested the Turkish suspect, police had found enough explosive material to destroy a bus.

He said two of those arrested are suspected al-Qaida operatives that had practiced flying light aircraft. He described the Turkish suspect as an al-Qaida facilitator.

Spain has made several arrests of suspected terrorists in recent months. Among them: a Saudi citizen that Spanish authorities say was in charge of al-Qaida's propaganda and recruitment.

Spain is home to Europe's worst Islamist terrorist attack in recent history - the 2004 bombings of commuter trains in Madrid that killed 191 people and injured hundreds of others.