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E-pills fund terror

Discussion in 'Open Discussion (Work-safe)' started by wolfamngstsheep, Apr 15, 2004.

  1. http://www.nytimes.com/2004/04/15/international/europe/15spai.html?th



    <NYT_TEXT>
    [​IMG]ADRID, April 14 - The Islamic terrorists responsible for the Madrid train bombings financed their plot with sales of hashish and Ecstasy and drank holy water from Mecca in ritual "purification acts" before the attacks, the acting interior minister, Ángel Acebes, said Wednesday.

    In a final news conference before the newly elected Socialist government takes office, Mr. Acebes described the March 11 terror attacks as a local, independently organized operation led by people with "connections to other fundamentalist groups in Europe and outside Europe."

    He said the group might have been influenced by a supreme leader "with more experience with radical Islam." But he said much of the plot had been carried out with the help of petty criminals.

    Using traffickers as intermediaries, the bombers swapped the drugs for the 440 pounds of dynamite used in the blasts, which killed 191 people and wounded more than 1,400 others, Mr. Acebes said. Money from the drug trafficking paid for an apartment hide-out, a car and the cellphones used to detonate the bombs, an Interior Ministry spokesman said.

    The explosives, Mr. Acebes added, were taken from a coal mine in the Asturias region of northern Spain and transported in a Volkswagen to a rundown property outside Madrid. The leaders of operation, evidently concerned about the effects of their plot on their souls, "swallowed holy water from Mecca," he said, adding, "They met periodically to carry out purification acts that would legitimize the committing of acts that could offend Islam."

    Mr. Acebes said the man in charge of the group's finances was Jamal Ahmidan, a 33-year-old Moroccan immigrant with an "extensive criminal record for drug trafficking."

    Mr. Ahmidan was identified as one of seven suspects who blew themselves up on April 3 in an apartment building in Leganés, in suburban Madrid, rather than surrender. At least three bodies have not yet been identified.

    The ideological mastermind of the bombing - and leader of the purification ceremonies - was a 30-year-old Moroccan immigrant named Jamal Zougam, Mr. Acebes said, who is one of 18 people, mostly Moroccans, sent to prison since the bombings. Mr. Zougam is mentioned but not charged in an indictment by an investigating judge, Baltasar Garzón, in connection with the Sept. 11 attacks in the United States.

    Mr. Acebes said the operational chief and "coordinator" of the bombings was a Tunisian named Sarhane Ben Abdelmajid Faket, 37, a former economics student at Madrid's Autonomous University who worked for a real estate office. Mr. Faket "recruited participants at some of the Madrid mosques in which he led some of the prayers," he said. He was killed in the Leganés explosion, which left one police officer dead.

    All those responsible for the attacks are behind bars or dead, Mr. Acebes said. The piece of the puzzle still missing, however, is whether a supreme leader oversaw the operation from a distance.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 16, 2004

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