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10 held in Spain terror swoop

By CNN Madrid Bureau Chief Al Goodman

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Spain
Acts of terror

MADRID, Spain (CNN) -- Spanish police say they have arrested 10 people, mainly Pakistani nationals, who are suspected of providing logistical support in the past for Islamic terrorists outside of Spain.

Catalan regional police made the arrests Tuesday night and early Wednesday at an apartment and a warehouse in Barcelona.

A search of the two premises did not turn up weapons or explosives, indicating that the suspects were not preparing an imminent attack on Spain, a Catalan police spokesman said.

There was no immediate indication, officials in Madrid and Barcelona said, of any link of the suspects to the March 11 Madrid train bombings that killed 191 people and wounded more than 1,800.

The Catalan police spokesman said he thought such a link was unlikely.

The suspects came under scrutiny during a Catalan police investigation into organized petty crime involving the forgery of documents, credit cards, videos and DVDs.

But evidence later appeared that indicated the 10 might have provided financing, logistical support or other collaboration for Islamic radicals outside of Spain, said the police spokesman, who requested anonymity.

The time frame of this possible support may have been weeks or months ago, the spokesman said. He declined to discuss which Islamic groups might have received the aid or where they were located outside of Spain.

Investigators previously have told CNN that Islamic terrorists routinely use the proceeds from drug trafficking or forgery to finance their activities.

In addition to the investigation into the Madrid commuter train bombings, which authorities blame on Islamic terrorists, Spanish officials since the mid-1990s have been probing other Islamic terrorist activities in Spain.

In September 2003, a Spanish judge indicted 35 people, including Osama bin Laden, and also the suspected al Qaeda leader in Spain, Imad Eddin Barakat Yarkas, for Islamic terrorist activities.

Some in that indictment, including Barkat Yarkas, were linked to the September 11 attacks in the United States.

Few Pakistani nationals have been arrested to date in Spain on suspicion of Islamic terrorism. The National Court investigating magistrate coordinating the Barcelona arrests was Judge Ismael Moreno.

In the Madrid train bombing investigation, 55 people have been charged, although 17 remain in jail while those with lesser charges have been released. Many of the suspects in train bombings are Moroccans.


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