Thursday, September 23, 2004

An investigation was underway Thursday into claims ETA and Islamic terrorist prisoners at a Spanish jail celebrated the Madrid massacre.

The Spanish daily El Mundo reported claims prisoners at A Lama prison in Pontevedra, in Galicia, in north-west Spain, were celebrating the terrorist attacks in which 191 people were killed in March.

The claims come after former Spanish prime minister Jose Maria Aznar claimed last week ETA and the Islamic terrorists behind the 11 March attacks were linked - a claimed refuted by the security services.

[...] The newspaper quotes unnamed prison sources who claimed there is frequent contact between ETA terrorists and convicted members of the GIA, the hardline Algerian Islamic terror group and other Islamic terrorist suspects.

One source said: "There is constant communication between these prisoners even though they are supposed to be separate. The Islamic prisoners chat and talk with the ETA prisoners."

Osama Darra, who is held there for his suspected links to the March bombings, and Sohbi Khouni, who was arrested in 1997, for his links to the GIA.

Some prisoners who celebrated the March attacks were understood to have been punished by prison authorities.

Rafael Moral, a union delegate at the prison, said: "They talk and are in touch. They have the same ideology."