MADRID, Spain (AP) — Police reportedly now suspect at
least six Moroccans took part in the Madrid train bombings, and the
United States is assisting a growing international investigation
that is increasingly focused on Islamic militants possibly linked
A 45-year-old woman died of her injuries yesterday, raising the
death toll from last Thursday’s bombings to 201. Of the more
than 1,600 wounded, eight are in critical condition.
Cardinal Antonio Rouco Varela led a Mass at Madrid’s
cathedral last night remembering the victims of the bloodiest
terrorist attack in Spain’s history.
“The tragic attacks of March 11 have sunk us all into deep
pain,” intoned Varela, a huge black ribbon hanging from a
wall above the altar. “To kill your own kind, to kill a
brother, is to attack God himself.”
The main suspect in custody in the attacks, Moroccan immigrant
Jamal Zougam, has already been identified by Spanish judge Baltasar
Garzon as a follower of Imad Yarkas, the alleged leader of
Spain’s al-Qaida cell who is jailed on suspicion he helped
plan the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States.
The daily newspaper El Pais reported yesterday that police
believe they have identified five other Moroccans who directly
participated in the attacks and are at large. Spain’s
Interior Ministry refused comment.
Two people who were traveling on one of the attacked trains have
said that Zougam was aboard just before the bombs began exploding,
El Pais said.
With signs that the bombings were carried out by Islamic
extremists who operate and have confederates in several countries,
FBI agents are helping Spanish police in using fingerprints and
names to seek a full picture of Zougam and four other suspects in
custody, a senior U.S. law enforcement official said in
Spanish police have also arrested two more Moroccans and two
Indians, but their possible role in the attacks has not been
specified. European countries were searching their databases for
any information pertinent to the attack.
A U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said
“it’s increasingly likely Islamic extremists were
involved in these attacks. In terms of assigning responsibility, it
“It’s not clear who these groups were,” the
official said, referring to whether they had links to al-Qaida and
other extremist groups or even to the Basque separatist group
A suspected link between the Madrid bombings and suicide bomb
attacks in Casablanca, Morocco, last year grew stronger yesterday
when French private investigator Jean-Charles Brisard described a
phone tap in which Zougam said he had met with Mohamed Fizazi, the
spiritual leader of Salafia Jihadia, a clandestine Moroccan
Salafia Jihadia is suspected of involvement in the Casablanca
attack, which killed 33 people and 12 bombers and has been linked
to Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaida terror network.
Brisard told The Associated Press the tapped call is cited in a
lengthy report written for Garzon’s inquiry of the Sept. 11
attacks. Brisard, who is helping investigate the Sept. 11 attacks
for lawyers representing some victims’ families, has a copy
of the report.