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Spain Arrests Al Qaeda Suspects in Predawn Raid

Spain arrested on Friday 16 suspected extremists linked to Osama bin Laden’s al Qaeda network who were preparing to launch chemical attacks, Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar said. Police in predawn raids searched 12 homes in the Catalonia region surrounding Barcelona, also discovering explosives, bomb components and radio transmission equipment used to communicate with Islamic extremists in Algeria and Chechnya, Spain’s interior minister said. “They (police) have broken up a major terrorist network … linked in this case to the Algerian Salafist group, a splinter of the Armed Islamic Group (GIA), which has clear connections with the criminal organization of bin Laden,” Aznar told a news conference in La Coruna. “The network had connections with terrorists recently arrested in France and the United Kingdom, and they were preparing attacks with explosives and chemical materials,” he said. He did not say where the attacks were to have been. Court sources however said the number arrested was 19 and that as many of eight of those would be set free shortly for lack of evidence. Full Story

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