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Report: Spain's Jews terror target

From Al Goodman
CNN Madrid Bureau Chief

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MADRID, Spain (CNN) -- A Jewish cemetery and cultural center on the outskirts of Madrid were targets for suspected Islamic terrorists linked to the Madrid train bombings last month, a Spanish newspaper reported Tuesday.

Jacobo Israel Garzon, president of the Jewish community in Spain, told CNN he could not confirm the El Mundo report that it did not seem unusual.

"It's sad information," he said. "This demonstrates the same as the March 11 attacks in Madrid, that the elements are here and they are violent and will attack anything that goes against their interests."

Israel Garzon said he was not informed by the police or political authorities about the alleged threat, but that as a result of the report Spain's Jewish community was likely to reinforce its already high state of security. About 35,000 Jews live in Spain.

According to the El Mundo report, documents found in an apartment in the southern Madrid suburb of Leganes, where suspected terrorists blew themselves up on April 3, referred to Jewish targets in the village of Hoyo de Manzanares just northwest of the capital.

As a result of the documents, dozens of police searched the cemetery and nearby cultural center in Hoyo de Manzanares on the evening of April 8 but found no explosives, El Mundo said.

The sites are used for funerals and cultural events such as barbecues and seminars, Israel Garzon said.

Spanish police already provide protection for Jewish sites in Spain, said Israel Garzon, president of the Jewish community of Madrid and the Federation of the Israelite Communities of Spain.

Spain's Jewish community has for some time feared attacks by both the far right and Islamic elements, Israel Garzon said.

About a third of Spain's Jews live in the Madrid area. The Hoyo de Manzanares Jewish cemetery is about 25 years old.

Two Jewish sites were targets for suspected Islamic terrorists linked to the Madrid rail bombings, a Spanish newspaper reports.

CNN Madrid Bureau Chief Al Goodman contributed to this report


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