Skip to main content

Spain arrests 7 suspected extremists

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • They worked with stolen travel documents
  • The cell sent them to Thailand, where they were falsified
  • Police say the documents were then turned over to terrorist organizations
  • Spain
  • Terrorism

(CNN) -- Spanish authorities arrested seven alleged Islamist extremists Wednesday who dealt in providing stolen travel documents to terrorist groups, the national police said.

Police say the seven are linked to al Qaeda.

Six suspects were from Pakistan and one from Nigeria, police said. Investigators arrested three others in Thailand; they are accused of directing the operation in Spain.

According to police, the cell was dedicated to stealing travel documents, mostly passports, and sending them to Thailand, where they would be falsified and turned over to groups with links to al Qaeda, such as Lashkar-e-Taiba, a militant group based in Pakistan.

The documents also ended up in the hands of the Tamil Tigers, a rebel force in Sri Lanka, police said.

Since the March 11, 2004 commuter train bombings in Madrid that killed 190 and wounded 1800, Spanish police, working with other international police forces, have kept a close eye on suspected islamic radicals living in or transiting through the country. There have been numerous previous arrests for alleged support work, like these arrests, involving forged documents.

CNN's Al Goodman contributed to this report.