Recent news reports indicate that while al Qaeda may have taken credit for the attacks, it was an unaffiliated Islamic terrorist group that actually conducted the attack. Newsweek reports that it was homegrown Islamic terrorists who launched the murderous attacks, not al Qaeda.
A two-year probe into the Madrid train bombings concludes the Islamic terrorists who carried out the blasts were homegrown radicals acting on their own rather than at the behest of Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaida network, two senior intelligence officials said.Trials against some of those arrested in the aftermath of the attacks is scheduled to begin this summer.
Spain still remains home to a web of radical Algerian, Moroccan and Syrian groups bent on carrying out attacks — and aiding the insurgency against U.S. troops in Iraq — a Spanish intelligence chief and a Western official intimately involved in counterterrorism measures in Spain told The Associated Press.
The intelligence chief said there were no phone calls between the Madrid bombers and al-Qaida and no money transfers. The Western official said the plotters had links to other Islamic radicals in Western Europe, but the plan was hatched and organized in Spain. “This was not an al-Qaida operation,” he said. “It was homegrown.”
Authorities believe the ideological mastermind was Serhan Ben Abdelmajid Fakhet, a Tunisian who blew himself up along with six other suspects when police surrounded their apartment three weeks after the bombings, and that Jamal Ahmidan, a Moroccan who also died that day, was the “military planner.”
Law enforcement had focused on another man, Allekema Lamari, as the head of the group. But the official said evidence, particularly from wiretapped phone conversations, indicated it was Ahmidan who gave the military orders. Lamari also died in the apartment blast in a Madrid suburb as authorities closed in.
Some 116 people have been arrested in the bombings, and 24 remain jailed. At least three others — Said Berraj, Mohammed Belhadj and Daoud Ouhane — are sought by authorities, though all are believed to have fled Spain long ago. The intelligence official said the top planners are all either dead or in jail.
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