Spain Arrests Two Terror Suspects Days Before Madrid MarathonPatricia Laya
Spanish police arrested two men they said may have ties to an al-Qaeda terrorist group in North Africa after one of them allegedly praised the recent Boston Marathon bombings.
The suspects, who were detained five days before the Madrid marathon event, are not believed to have possessed explosives or planned attacks though there are sufficient indications they have links to Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, known as AQIM, Interior Minister Jorge Fernandez Diaz told reporters in Madrid today. The men acted as “lone wolves” and were identified with the help of French and Moroccan authorities, he said.
Madrid is set to double the number of security personnel this year to host about 25,000 runners in its 36th edition of the city’s Marathon on April 28 after three people died and more than were 170 injured in the bombing in Boston, newspaper El Pais reported, citing Cristina Cifuentes, the central government’s representative to Madrid.
The Algerian and Moroccan were respectively arrested in the Spanish regions of Zaragoza and Murcia and have “similar profiles” to the suspects in the U.S. bombings, police said in a statement. The investigation lasted for more than one year.
The Algerian suspect regularly posted in radical online-forums and expressed wishes to “die as a martyr,” according to a statement from Spain’s Interior Ministry. He praised the attack in Boston, Fernandez Diaz said.
Spain has detained 13 Islamic terrorism suspects in the country since the beginning of 2012, according to Interior Ministry data.