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Pakistanis, Nigerian Held In Spain Over Terror Links

PTI 01 Dec 2010, 22:31:49 IST
Madrid, Dec 1: Six Pakistanis and a Nigerian suspected of providing forged passports to Lashkar-e-Taiba and groups linked to Al-Qaeda, in particular those behind the 2008 attacks in Mumbai, have been arrested by Spanish police, the interior ministry said today.

Three others -- two Pakistanis and a Thai national -- were held in Thailand as part of the same Operation Kampai, it said in a statement.

Officers detained the suspects in raids in and around the northeastern city of Barcelona late on Tuesday.

The gang stole documents, including passports, which were sent to Thailand to be forged and then delivered to Al-Qaeda-linked "terrorist groups," in particular the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba that has been accused of plotting the Mumbai attacks, it said.

Ten militants killed at least 166 people in three days of violence in the Indian city in November, 2008.

The gang also supplied the defeated Sri Lankan separatist group the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, the statement said.

"In total, seven people have been arrested in Barcelona (six Pakistanis and a Nigerian), all for belonging to a cell providing documentation for terrorist organisations linked to Al Qaeda,"it said.

"The international structure was led by a Pakistani citizen living in Thailand and who has been detained, who directed the cells based in Europe, decided the features of the passports to obtain and, which once they were received in Bangkok, supplied them to different terrorist groups.

During the investigation, which began a year and a half ago, police "have detected a number of stolen passports taken from Spain to Thailand, which were stolen almost entirely in the province of Barcelona from tourists who met the requirements stipulated by the 'World Islamic Front' in order to be used by members of different terrorist cells linked to Al Qaeda," the statement said.

It said the operation had "neutralised a vast cell" involved in providing passports for Al-Qaeda.

In the raids, police also seized stolen passports, a computer and hard drives and mobile phones, the ministry said.

The operation, which was carried out in conjunction with the police forces of Thailand and of European countries, is continuing, the ministry said.

Last August, Spanish police arrested a Moroccan man suspected of recruiting Islamic extremists over the Internet and raising funds for terror groups.

Names of Pakistanis who were arrrested in Spain - 

Junaid Humayun, -Gujranwala (Pakistan),
Atiqur Rehman, -Lahore (Pakistan),
Babatunde Agunbiade, - Lagos (Nigeria),
Jabra Asghar, -Pakistan,
Malik Iftikhar Ahmad -Sialkot (Pakistan),
Mohammad Saddique Khan (Pakistan),
Sanda Kalan, -Lahore (Pakistan) and
Tanveer Arshad, -Lahore (Pakistan). AFP