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22 charged over 'al Qaeda network'

  • Story Highlights
  • 22 charged in Spain over alleged al Qaeda-linked terrorist recruitment network
  • Suspects alleged to have sent four fighters to Iraq, court source tells CNN
  • One recruit alleged to be responsible for 2003 suicide attack that killed 18
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From CNN Madrid Bureau Chief Al Goodman
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MADRID, Spain (CNN) -- A Spanish judge indicted 22 suspected Islamic terrorists Tuesday, charging them with recruiting and sending fighters to Iraq, including one who killed Italian troops there in a suicide attack in 2003, according to a copy of the indictment viewed by CNN.

A court source said the suspects managed to send four fighters to Iraq.

It notes the suicide attack on Nov. 17, 2003, by a man identified as Bellil Belgacem "against Italian troops that left 18 people dead and various others wounded," in Nasiriya, Iraq, the indictment said.

Eighteen of the 22 suspects are charged with membership in a terrorist group. The others face the lesser charge of collaborating with a terrorist group. All but two of the suspects are either in custody or out on bail.

The defendants aimed to establish their network in Spain, Belgium, Holland, Turkey, Morroco, Syria and Iraq, with "the precise aim of sending people to Iraq to join the terrorist activity directed by al Qaeda, to attack vital military and civilian, public and private targets," the indictment says.

Judge Baltasar Garzon, an investigating magistrate at Spain's National Court who has tried to untangle the web of suspected Islamic terrorist cells in Spain, issued the 38-page indictment.

The suspected leaders include Abdeladin Akoudad, alias Nadufel, identified as an alleged coordinator of a group called the Moroccan Islamic Combatant Group, "a terrorist group of Salafist ideology," the indictment says.

Akoudad and another defendant, Ahmed Hissisni, are being sought on Spanish arrest warrants, the indictment says.

Another suspected leader identified in the indictment is Mohamed Mrabet Fashi, alias Aldeghafour, who allegedly had responsibility in Spain for sending fighters to Iraq to attack Western targets, the indictment says. The indictment maintains pre-trial prison for Mrabet Fashi and nine co-defendants.

Ten other defendants have provisional liberty, including three with bail of 6,000 euros ($8,400) each, the indictment says. No trial date was announced. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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