Five arrested in Spain for helping Madrid train bombers flee -more suspects being sought
January 3, 2007
Spain arrests 5 for possible connections to Madrid train bombings
MADRID, Jan 3 (Reuters) - Spanish police have arrested five people who could have helped two suspects escape after the 2004 train bombings in Madrid, the Interior Ministry said on Wednesday.The ministry said in a statement the people were arrested in cities around Spain for suspected links to international terrorism. The detainees had also been in contact with a third man linked to the March 11, 2004 bombings which killed 191 people, the ministry said, without saying when the arrests had taken place. Islamist militants claimed the attacks in the name of al Qaeda as revenge for Spain sending troops to Afghanistan and Iraq. Days later, the government lost a general election and the new Socialist administration pulled its troops out of Iraq. In February, a Spanish court is due to start the trial of 29 people for their part in the train bombings, most of them Spaniards and Moroccans. Investigators are still looking for other suspects thought to have fled Spain after the bombs, including Mohamed Afalah, Mohamed Belhadj and Daoud Ouhnane. Spanish authorities believe Afalah died in a suicide attack in Iraq in May 2005 and a government source has said it was likely the other two also joined the insurgency in Iraq. The interior ministry said the five people arrested had helped Afalah and Belhadj escape and had been in touch with Ouhnane. In the raids, police seized false documents, receipts for telephone calls to Afghanistan, cash and three computers. The people arrested were named as Zohaib Khadiri, Djilali Boussiri, Nasreddine Ben Laid Amri, Samir Tahtah and Kamal Ahbar. The ministry did not give their nationalities.