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Spain arrests two men suspected of al Qaeda links

MGN
Tuesday, April 23, 2013 - 5:33am

Spanish police arrested two suspected terrorists with apparent links to an al Qaeda-affiliated group Tuesday but said they had no indication of an imminent attack.

The Interior Ministry identified the suspects as Nou Mediouni, from Algeria, who was arrested in the north-central city of Zaragoza, and Hassan El Jaaouani, from Morocco, who was detained in the southeastern city of Murcia.

Spanish police worked with their counterparts in France and Morocco to carry out the latest arrests, the Interior Ministry statement said.

The statement said the two suspects have a "profile" that is similar to the two suspects in the Boston Marathon attacks.

However, that similarity is based only on how the two suspects in Spain were "radicalized," by going to online forums and chat rooms, and also in the suspects' alleged interest in pulling from the Internet information on bomb-making, said an Interior Ministry spokesman, who by custom is not identified.

The two are suspected members of a radical cell close to the terrorist organization al Qaeda in the Maghreb, he said.

The pair, who are from different countries, are not brothers and, unlike the two suspects in the Boston Marathon attacks, have no roots in the Caucasus region, he said.

The two men have been under surveillance as part of an operation lasting more than a year, run in cooperation with France and Morocco, the Spanish Interior Ministry said.

The arrests in Spain come days before the Madrid Marathon on Sunday.

About 26,000 runners are expected to take part in a marathon, half-marathon and 10-kilometer race, to be run at the same time. Security has been increased in light of the attacks in Boston, authorities said.  

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