Monday, March 15, 2004

Jamal Zougam

Jamal Zougam, one of the suspects in the recent Spanish bombing, was investigated by Spain in 2001:

A Moroccan arrested in last week's train bombings here surfaced nearly three years ago in an investigation that indicated he had wide-ranging contacts with Islamic extremists, including a group later accused of complicity in the Sept. 11 attacks, according to court documents and interviews Sunday.

Spanish police searched the Madrid apartment of Jamal Zougam in August 2001, according to investigators. The search revealed that Zougam, 30, associated with key figures in a Madrid Al Qaeda cell whose alleged leader, Imad Eddin Barakat, was jailed three months later on suspicion of helping plot the attacks in the United States that year, according to Spanish court documents.

Police determined that Zougam was a follower of Barakat, a Spanish citizen born in Syria, and they wiretapped at least one phone conversation between the two, documents show. Zougam also had ties to Ansar al Islam, the largely Kurdish group now active in terrorist attacks in Iraq, and to suspects in last year's suicide bombings in Casablanca, Morocco, that killed 45 people, including 12 bombers.

This same article goes on to note that Iran is harboring known terrorists:

Police found that Zougam had phone numbers for the alleged Ansar operative as well as three suspected members of the Madrid Al Qaeda cell. One of them was Amer Aziz, who allegedly helped organize a strategy meeting of two Sept. 11 plotters on Spain's northeastern coast in July 2001.

Aziz, a Moroccan, eluded arrest in late 2001. Intercepts last year showed that Aziz had taken refuge with known Islamic terrorists in Iran, investigators say.


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