Fingerprint link to suspects in Madrid attacks

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The Independent Online

Fingerprints belonging to two of the chief suspects in the Madrid train bombings have been found with traces of bomb-making equipment in a house east of Madrid, police sources said yesterday.

Fingerprints belonging to two of the chief suspects in the Madrid train bombings have been found with traces of bomb-making equipment in a house east of Madrid, police sources said yesterday.

Police combing the rural house where they believe the bombs were prepared for the 11 March massacre found the fingerprints of Jamal Zougam, the chief suspect in the bombings, and of Abderrahim Zbakh, known as "the Chemist". Mr Zbakh is suspected of preparing the explosive before packing it into rucksacks that exploded on trains, killing more than 190 people. The two Moroccans, who were arrested days after the attack, are being held on charges of mass murder.

The house, near Morata de Tajuna, also contained traces of goma2 eco dynamite similar to that used in the attack, plus aluminium and copper detonators. Security services found similar copper detonators in a van in Alcala de Henares, east of Madrid, on the day of the attacks. The suspects are thought to have brought the bombs to Alcala in the van before putting them on trains bound for Madrid.

Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a Jordanian linked to al-Qa'ida and suspected of heading a terrorist network in Iraq, is now believed to have been the brains behind the Madrid massacre, according to the French investigator Jean-Charles Brisard. He said Spanish officials told him some suspects held in the 11 March attacks were in contact with al-Zarqawi just weeks before the bombings. Spanish investigators believed up to seven of the 18 people held in Spain helped plan the Madrid attacks and that al-Zarqawi was behind the plot, Mr Brisard said.

Spanish investigators have analysed a videotape found in Madrid in which a man claiming to speak on behalf of al-Qa'ida said the group carried out the Madrid attacks in reprisal for Spain's backing of the US-led war in Iraq.

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