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Spain questions alleged bin Laden associates

MADRID, Spain (CNN) -- The six Algerians arrested this week in Spain, whom authorities link to Osama bin Laden, were taken Friday to the National Court in Madrid, which handles cases of terrorism.

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Earlier this week, the government said the six belong to an Algerian Islamic terrorist cell called the Salafist Group for Call and Combat. That group is on the list of 27 terror-related entities whose assets were frozen by the Bush administration this week. The men are suspected of helping to prepare attacks on U.S. targets in Europe, the Spanish government said.

Two of the men were taken before an investigating magistrate at the court shortly before 2 p.m. (8 a.m. ET) for questioning, officials said. All six men are expected to be charged with belonging to an armed band.

The Algerians, arrested in six different Spanish towns from Tuesday night to early Wednesday, have been held incommunicado in Madrid.

Spain's Interior Minister, Mariano Rajoy, said on Thursday that material seized in the raids indicated that one of the men was preparing to become a suicide terrorist.

Spain's largest newspaper, El Pais, citing sources close to the investigation, reported Friday that the main European contact for the six was Nizar Trabelsi, of Tunisia, who was detained September 13 in Belgium. Sources said he was preparing a suicide attack against such potential targets as NATO headquarters in Brussels or a Jewish synagogue at an undisclosed location in Europe.


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