Tuesday, March 16, 2004

El Pais is reporting that six Moroccan citizens have been identified as the bombers on the Madrid trains. Five of them have apparently fled the country; the sixth is Jamal Zougam, the owner of the mobile phone shop to which the mobile phone and fake phonecard in the bag which didn't explode led investigators. Zougam is the only one of the five arrested so far who seems to be big-time guilty. (Innocent until proven guilty, of course, but let's not let legal procedure stand in the way of what probably happened.)

Apparently the four other people arrested are merely associates of Zougam and some sort of small-time phone scammers.

Two survivors of the bombings identified Zougam as someone they had seen on the trains the day of the bombings.

The direct boss of Zougam's cell is an Algerian named Said Arel, who in turn is under a Jordanian named Abou Mosad al-Fakaui. Al-Fakaui is a leader of Ansar el-Islam, the Al-Qaeda group based in Saddam's Iraq. So it is said.

Paranoid conspiracy-theory question: What if the Corriere della Sera's story we mentioned a couple of days ago about Basque terrorists being trained fighting Americans in Iraq is even semi-true? Is that the connection? Did the ETA provide the information and the infrastructure while the Islamists pulled the actual hit?

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