Spain Arrests 14 in Suspected Terrorist Plot
Spanish authorities have cracked down on a suspected terrorist plot that may have been targeted at disrupting the country's upcoming national elections scheduled for March 9.
Spanish police arrested 14 suspected Islamic militants in early morning raids Saturday, and the interior minister said authorities suspect the men were plotting a terrorist attack in Barcelona.
The suspects — 12 Pakistanis and two Indian nationals — were arrested less than two months before national elections in Spain, whose last vote in March 2004 was held in the wake of Europe's worst Islamic-linked terror attack.
There are fears that Islamic militants could try a similar plot to disrupt this year's vote, scheduled for March 9.
Interior Minister Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba gave no details on what sort of an attack was allegedly being plotted, but said authorities found four timers in some of the suspects' homes.
"When someone has timers at home you have no option but to think violent acts are being planned," he said, adding that more arrests were expected and the country was on high security alert.
Europe's worst Islamic-linked terror attack took place in Spain on March 11, 2004, when bombs went off in railway carriages during the morning rush hour near Madrid's Atocha station. The attack killed 191 people and injured more than 1,800. Twenty-one people have been convicted of involvement in that attack.
The Madrid train attacks were claimed by Muslim militants who said they had acted on behalf of al-Qaida to avenge the presence of Spanish troops in Iraq, but Spain's courts found no evidence that al-Qaida ordered, knew about or financed the attacks.