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Madrid bombings ‘inspired’ by Al-qaeda: Media reports

The suspected masterminds of the deadly train bombings in Madrid in 2004 belonged to a local cell ‘‘inspired’’ by Al-qaeda acting to force Spain to withdraw troops from Iraq, according to the judge investigating the attacks, a media report said today.

The suspected masterminds of the deadly train bombings in Madrid in 2004 belonged to a local cell ‘‘inspired’’ by Al-qaeda acting to force Spain to withdraw troops from Iraq, according to the judge investigating the attacks, a media report said today.

Juan Del Olmo, the top judge overseeing the inquiry into Spain’s worst extremist attack, is due to make the announcement this week when he charges at least 30, mainly Moroccan, suspects with involvement, the daily El Pais reported.

Four suspects will be charged with actually carrying out the bombings on four packed commuter trains, which killed 191 people and injured around 1,900, the paper said. It named them as Jamal Zougam and Abdel Majid Bouchar from Morocco, Basel Ghayoun from Syria and a fourth suspect, Otman El Gnaout.

Del Olmo, head of Spain’s highest criminal court, believed the attacks were directed by two people, Jamal Ahmidan and Serhane Ben Abdel Majid Fakhet, who died along with five accomplices in carrying out the bombings, El Pais said.

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The two men were ‘‘inspired’’ by recommendations published on the Internet from senior Al-qaeda members. The latter encouraged attacks in Spain ahead of its general election in March 2004 to force it to withdraw military support for the US-led occupation of Iraq, El Pais reported.

The bombings on March 11, 2004, produced a surprise election defeat three days later for the Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar and his ruling conservative popular party (PP).

First published on: 11-04-2006 at 01:17:11 am
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