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Al Qaeda Claims Responsibility for Bombings in Spain.

Aired March 13, 2004 - 19:42   ET


CAROL LIN, CNN ANCHOR: We are covering a lot of breaking news tonight. We want to take you now live to Madrid. That is where CNN's Al Goodman now has some transcripts of a videotape that was delivered to a Spanish television station. This videotape of someone claiming to be a spokesperson for al Qaeda, claiming responsibility for the train bombings that killed 200 people, injured some 1,500 others.
Al, what was actually said in this videotape?

AL GOODMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Carol, I'm standing at the Interior Ministry in central Madrid and they have distributed a one- page, four-paragraph statement in Spanish, which they say is a translation of the entire message on this videotape. Incidentally, the videotape was -- the existence of the videotape was phoned into the TV station, Carol, but the TV station never actually had it in their hand. They just advised the police where the caller, the anonymous caller who told them about it, told them where it was and police went to get that and they then listened to it.

But we'll get into what the message is. Basically, it is the first claim since the attacks on Thursday that is directly claiming this attack in the name of al Qaeda. There's been another claim earlier on Thursday by a group that somehow linked to al Qaeda, but officials said that group has (UNINTELLIGIBLE) other things that it never possibly could have carried out like the blackout in New York City last summer.

This is the first claim in the name of al Qaeda and it starts out by saying, we declare our responsibility for what has occurred in Madrid two and a half years after the attacks in New York and Washington. It is a response for your collaboration with what -- and I'm reading here -- actually with the criminals Bush and his allies. It goes on to say that this is a response for the crimes that you caused to the world and specifically in Iraq and Afghanistan and there will be more God willing.

And I'll translate quickly the third paragraph. It says you love life and we love death, which is an example of what the prophet Muhammad said. And if you do not stop your injustices, the blood will flow more and more and these attacks will seem very small with what could occur is what you call terrorism. This is a notice from the military spokesman of al Qaeda in Europe.

And the name has been given, Abu Dujan Al Afgani. Now the Spanish interior minister who just announced this in a very unusual post-midnight news conference, his third appearance of the day before reporters, said that the Spanish intelligence authorities have been in contact with various (UNINTELLIGIBLE) Europe and from beyond. He didn't specifically mention the United States, but he might have been hinting at that.

He did specifically mention the United Kingdom and he said all of these intelligence agencies (UNINTELLIGIBLE) Spanish officials were contacted this Saturday evening trying to see if this Abu Dujan Al Afgani is, does he in fact exist? Is he the military spokesman of al Qaeda? He said the initial response from these colleague agencies in other countries (UNINTELLIGIBLE) haven't really heard of this guy and so, he says this has to be taken with an extreme amount of caution -- Carol.

LIN: Al, we're showing videotape right now of the announcement being made at your location at the Interior Ministry. I'm just wondering what is going to be the process, then, by which investigators there are going to try to verify who this man is and whether it is a legitimate al Qaeda claim.

GOODMAN: Well they have already started to try to verify it. They - a spokesman for the interior minister has told CNN that first the interior minister hasn't seen the tape nor has this spokesman. Second, that the tape physically -- the original tape, we -- perhaps the intelligence services have made a copy for themselves for them to study it, but the original tape we are told has been sent over about five minutes from where I'm standing to the national courthouse, which is the court that investigates terrorism, al Qaeda, other types of Islamic terrorism, the Basque group ETA, has bullet-proof courtrooms.

It's a very serious courthouse and the tape has been delivered to the on-duty judge on this Saturday night. We don't have his name as yet. What we're being told is that the person who appears on the videotape is a man. He's speaking in Arabic, with what the Spanish interior minister said was a Moroccan accent. You can speak Arabic with a Syrian accent, for instance. In this case the man is speaking with a Moroccan accent and he's standing there with - he is appearing - I'm not sure he's standing - he is appearing on the tape, his face is uncovered. And they didn't tell us anything about the background.

They said he is dressed in what they describe as Arabic dress and they're trying to figure out if the person that they're seeing, the man that they're seeing is Abu Dujan Al Afgani or they're trying to figure out was it the same man who called over to the TV station. The man who called the TV station spoke in Spanish, but with an Arabic accent. So, they've got a lot of questions...

LIN: Right.

GOODMAN: They're trying to track it down, Carol.

LIN: All right, thank you very much. Al Goodman, still working the story for us. We're going to be hearing from Al throughout the evening as he investigates exactly what is on this videotape and whether anybody can actually verify if the man in the videotape claiming responsibility for the train bombings last Thursday, which killed 200 people, whether this man is in fact connected to al Qaeda. Al is going to have a full report on our primetime show at 10:00 Eastern. So please stay tuned, as well as for updates throughout the evening on two major breaking news stories.

Right now I'm Carol Lin at the CNN Center in Atlanta. Back to "CAP GANG" in progress.


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