Three presumed Al Qaeda terrorists — a Russian, a Chechen, and a Turk — were arrested in Spain yesterday. Many thanks to our Spanish correspondent Hermes for translating this article from La Razón:
Detained in Cádiz and in Ciudad Real in possession of explosives
Found a spider-hole in the house of one of the terrorists in which explosives had been stored
Interior Minister Jorge Fernández Díaz affirmed today that there were “clear indications” that the three Al Qaeda terrorists detained in recent hours from whom “particularly damaging” explosives were seized could have been planning a terrorist attack in Spain or in other European countries.
That’s how the minister explained it in a press conference in which details were given on the operation carried out by the National Police, “one of the most important investigations so far against Al Qaeda on an international level”.
Fernández Díaz has pointed out that one of the detainees, a man from a Euro-Asiatic republic who was arrested in Almuradiel (Ciudad Real), was an “extremely dangerous” operative and “a very important member inside the structure of the western branch of Al Qaeda.”
Fernández Díaz also disclosed that this detainee had experience in the fields of explosives, poisons, flying ultra-light aircraft and remote-control planes, and he had also experience as a sniper.
This alleged terrorist, who offered “extraordinarily strong resistance”, was detained yesterday in the company of another operative member of Al Qaeda during a stopover of a bus making its route from Cádiz to Irún. Because of this, it is suspected that they were trying to go to France.
The third person detained yesterday, a Turkish national, was a “facilitator” of the organization who was caught in a single-family house in La Línea de la Concepción (Cádiz), where the officers found a “particularly damaging” quantity of explosives mixed with shrapnel, which “could have blown up a bus”.
This Turkish citizen was living with his partner in that house, at which the two other detainees had arrived two months previously.
The news agency EFE was informed by investigative sources that the two other persons detained in Ciudad Real had also been living in an apartment in the province of Cádiz.
Asked if the detainees were planning an attack in Gibraltar, given the fact that the apartment in which the explosives were kept was so near [to the English territory], Fernández Díaz emphasized that they had not a single piece of evidence [about this], but they could have certainly been preparing an attack in Spain or in other European countries.
These were the explanations given by the Interior Minister in a press conference in which details were presented on the operation carried out by the National Police, “one of the most important investigations so far against Al Qaeda on an international level.”
Fernández Díaz pointed out that one of the detainees had experience in the fields of explosives, poisons, flying ultra-light aircraft and remote-control planes, and he had also experience as a sniper.
Apart from this, The National police found in the flat of one of the detainees a spider-hole which was used for hiding explosives and which had been recently emptied, counterterrorism sources informed Europa Press.
These same sources explained that it was in the frame of this search that the police agents found the spider-hole with the help of trained dogs.
In spite of finding the place empty and apparently clean, the police dogs trained to find drugs and explosives reacted in a very nervous way, which leaded the agents to conclude that the place was recently cleaned up, according to the [police] sources.
After a first analysis, the police found the remains of explosives which are being analyzed in order to determine what kind of material the terrorists used.
The investigation, which remains open, is being led by the assigned [judge] Pablo Ruz from Central Court No. Five.
[Caption for photo at the top of this post: The three presumed terrorists detained yesterday]
An English-language report on the arrests may be read at the Telegraph website.