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Wednesday, December 20, 2006


Madrid, 20 Dec. (AKI) - Several former 'jihadists" are returning to Spain and other European countries from training camps in conflict-wracked Iraq, according to daily El Pais, citing an alarming new intelligence dossier. Intelligence services in Spain, France, Great Britain and Germany have put together a list with 200 names of "potentially dangerous" alleged Islamist extremists, of whom 20 are resident in Spain, and who may have fought 'Jihad' or holy war in Iraq.

Unnamed Spanish anti-terror sources quoted by El Pais said that some of the jihadi 'veterans' belonged to al-Qaeda's late leader in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's cells there [al-Zarqawi was killed in June by a US-led airstrike on his hideout]. These extremists are al-Qaeda's 'Trojan horse' in Europe, according to the anti-terror sources.

Spain's intelligence services remain on high alert, but although the suspects are being investigated and have been termed as "high risk" by anti-terror experts, no charges have been pressed against them. Most are from North Africa, and are of Moroccan or Algerian nationality, El Pais said.

The secret list of names was compiled less than a year ago by police from Spain, France, Germany and Britain. Spain is a 'hothouse' for terror recruitment, El Pais said, citing experts. The paper previously reported that a group of Islamic radicals with ties to al-Qaeda issued a call in May for the liberation of Ceuta and Melilla from Spanish "occupation" through terrorist attacks. The two Spanish enclaves in northern Morocco both have large Muslim populations.

El Pais said that intelligence officials considered the possibility of attack in the enclaves to be among the most serious threats to Spain from Islamic terrorism since the Madrid train bombings.

Spanish police last week arrested 11 suspected Islamic militants in an early morning raid on a poor neighbourhood in Spain's North African enclave of Ceuta, who were plotting attacks on specific targets there, the government said. Ten of those arrested were of Spanish nationality and one Moroccan. Those arrested and interrogated by Spain's National Court judge, Balthasar Garzon, include two brothers of Hamed Abderrahaman Ahmed, known as "the Spanish Taleban," who spent two years at the US detention camp in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, after being captured in Pakistan, court officials said

Police believe the 11 Ceuta suspects are related to the Moroccan Islamic Combatant Group (GICM), which is thought to have been involved in the 2004 Madrid train bombings - in which 191 people died - and the 2003 suicide attacks on Casablanca that killed 45.
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