Spanish judge links eight men to US attacks

 

A Spanish judge said today he suspected eight alleged members of an Islamic militant group of direct involvement in the September 11 attacks on the United States, remanding the men in custody while inquiries continue.

Earlier, court sources told Reutersthe men denied the accusations and any links with al Qaeda.

The document prepared by Mr Garzon says the cell is believed to have been directly related to the preparation and development of the attacks perpetrated by suicide pilots on September 11 .

It also said there were as many charges of terrorism against the men as there were dead and injured resulting from the attack.

Three of the 11 suspects arrested on Tuesday by Spanish police were released on condition that they return for further questioning if requested. Most of the group were Spanish citizens of Arab origin.

One of the men remanded in custody on Sunday was Mr Imad Eddin Barakat Yarbas, alias Abu Dahdah, who police say was the leader of the group and bin Laden's representative in Spain.

Mr Garzon has also accused the men of robbery and forgery.

Interior Minister Mr Mariano Rajoy said they had recruited people to attend training camps and commit terrorist acts and provide false documents to support people close to these groups .

The ministry said last week the suspects had either trained in terrorist camps in Afghanistan or had seen combat in Afghanistan, Bosnia or other fronts in the Islamic struggle .

The move follows a two-year probe by Mr Garzon, best known for leading Spain's crackdown on the Basque separatist group ETA and last year's attempt to try Chilean ex-dictator Augusto Pinochet.

Mohammed Atta, the Egyptian believed to have crashed one of the planes into the World Trade Center in New York, is also known to have visited Spain this year.