Tuesday, December 11, 2012

AL-QAEDA may have chemical weapons, Spain's counter-terror chief warns

The head of National Police counter-terrorist intelligence, Commissioner-General Enrique Baron, told a strategic security conference in Barcelona that it was believed that the self-styled Al Qaeda of the Islamic Maghreb - AQMI - could have acquired such arms in Libya or elsewhere during the Arab Spring last year. He also warned that the group was encouraging attacks against Spain.

Addressing the conference organised by the Foundation for Techniques for Defence and Security, Commissioner Baron told his audience: "The Al Qaeda of the Islamic Maghreb has acquired and used very powerful conventional arms and probably also has non-conventional arms, basically chemical, as a result of the loss of control of arsenals."

The most likely place where this could have happened was in Libya during the uprising which overthrew the Gaddafi regime, said Commissioner Baron.

In his position as the head of Spanish National Police intelligence the Commissioner-General works closely with MI6, the CIA and other Western European intelligence services.

He told the one-day conference that AQMI, which is now occupying the northern part of Mali along with other fundamentalist groups and local Tuareg tribesmen, posed the greatest terrorist threat against Spain.

It had frequently said that a main aim was to "recover Al Andalus" - the name given to Spain when it was under Moorish occupation in the Middle Ages.

The Telegraph uses the wrong picture, that of former EU commissioner and Socialist minister Enrique Barón. Same name, different person...