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Terror suspects arrested in Europe

MADRID, Spain (CNN) -- Several more suspects have been arrested in Europe in connection with the investigation into Osama bin Ladenís al Qaeda network.

Suspects were arrested in Italy and Germany on Wednesday and it was revealed the U.S. asked Spain to search for a new group of eight suspected terrorists linked to al Qaeda.

The United States believes some of the eight may have had a role in the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, the Spanish Interior Ministry told CNN on Wednesday.

American officials sent the names, photographs and other details about the eight suspects to Spain last Friday.

The Spanish Government has ordered all police stations to be on the lookout for the suspects, the ministry confirmed to CNN.

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The eight are in addition to a list of about 100 suspected Islamic terrorists that the U.S. has previously sent to Spain and other nations following the U.S. attacks.

An Interior Ministry official told CNN that police were trying to determine if any of the eight were currently in Spain or if they had recently been in the country.

Spanish newspapers, citing police sources, reported on Wednesday that three of the individuals sought include a Yemeni national, age 29.

Two others were described as an unidentified Syrian, thought to have been the chief of a terrorist training camp near Kabul, Afghanistan, who had also fought the Russians in Chechnya, and a man described as an activist who had recently been located in southern Pakistan.

Meanwhile, police in Italy and Germany said on Wednesday they had arrested three Islamic militants believed to have planned armed attacks with Saudi-born bin Laden.

Italian judicial officials said police were seeking a fourth suspect in France in a swoop on a group of North Africans thought to have plotted attacks with bin Laden by telephone.

The two men arrested in Italy were Tunisians and the one in Germany was a Libyan, said Reuters.

The arrests are believed to be linked to the round-up of terrorist suspects in Milan in April when five north Africans were detained and charged with forging documents, according to CNN's Tom Bogdanovic in Milan.

That inquiry centred on an alleged plot to attack the European Parliament. The suspect sought in France was believed to be Egyptian.

Italian Interior Minister Claudio Scajola said the man arrested in Germany belonged to the bin Laden-linked "Salafite Cell for Preaching and Fighting."

The German prosecutor's office and crime agency said the Libyan was arrested in Munich on an Italian warrant.

Scajola told reporters: "The men of the subversive cell, which answered to bin Laden, who were picked up overnight in Milan, had been under police surveillance for some time.

"The cell worked to recruit men to send to training camps in Afghanistan. We cannot know if that heralded terroristic attacks, but we think we can exclude that."

He said Milan magistrates had uncovered nothing that "may lead one to think of terroristic attacks of a chemical type."

The man arrested in Germany was considered to be the leader of those seized in Milan.

The 50-page arrest warrant says he had had direct contacts with bin Laden, including telephone calls between March and April that were taped by investigators.

These conversations included references to arms hidden in Afghan caves.

During some of the calls they appeared to discuss an imminent attack. "Soon something major will happen," said a judicial official, quoting one of the taped conversations.



 
 
 
 


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