Tuesday, October 19, 2004

WELL, IT SEEMS that running from Iraq hasn't diminished the risk of Islamic terrorism in Spain:
Police arrested seven suspected Islamic militants in raids across Spain on Monday to foil a planned bomb attack on the High Court, judicial sources said.

The arrests came seven months after train bombs killed 191 people in Madrid.

The seven suspects, including four Algerians and one Moroccan, were arrested in the southern region of Andalusia, the Mediterranean city of Valencia and Madrid.

Further arrests could be made in the coming hours as part of the operation against a radical and violent Muslim network, the Interior Ministry said in a statement.

Crusading Judge Baltasar Garzon ordered the arrests as part of his inquiry into Islamic militant cells in Spain.

The suspects had been in contact with other individuals in Europe, the United States and Australia, the statement said.
According to the newspaper El Mundo (link in Spanish) the planned attack would have consisted on a suicide murderer driving a van loaded with 1,000 lbs. of dynamite purchased from the Basque terrorist group ETA (that's a very important point if proven, since many analysts have been ruling out the possibility that Islamic and Basque terrorists might be collaborating, on the March 11 bombings or in general; wrongly, of course, as there is a long history of logistic and training support, as well as information exchange between the two. Even judge Garzón himself, during his appearance before the parliamentary commission onvestigating the March 11 attacks, said that the possibility of connection between Islamic and Basque terrorists was "metaphisically impossible"; guess he'll have to review that).

Apparently the target would have been the Audiencia Nacional, the high court in which, among others, judge Garzón and judge Del Olmo (who is investigating the March 11 bombings) serve. But the Audiencia Nacional is only a few yards away from both the Supreme Court and the headquarters of the Popular Party (of former PM Aznar). The anti-terrorism operation is still open, so this post will be updated as soon as new relevant details emerge.

UPDATE. Ed Morrisey writes: "The cease-fire that Spain bought with Islamists with their capitulation after the Madrid bombings appears to have been an illusion, as predicted."