Spanish police arrested 16 suspected Islamist militants on Wednesday, including followers of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and men preparing to become suicide bombers in Iraq, the Interior Ministry said. t was the second European swoop in two days against suspected backers of the Iraqi insurgency, following Germany’s arrest of three Iraqis on Tuesday.
Eleven of the suspects in Spain were followers of Zarqawi, al Qaeda’s leader in Iraq, the Interior Ministry said.
“Many of them expressed their will to become martyrs for Islam, demonstrating they are extremely radical and dangerous,” the ministry said in a statement.
Assuming that this information is well founded (that they are followers of Zarqawi , and they are potential suicide terrorists – we do in the end need a judge to confirm this) the situation is preoccupying. This article doesn’t have the story entirely straight, according to the TV news the people arrested are mainly logistical in the sense that they are fund-raisers and recruiters who send potential suicide bombers to Zarqawi in Iraq. In addition some of the people seem to have been part of the 11 March network.
This news will suit the propaganda angle of neither of the main political parties here in Spain (PP and PSOE). PP are still in denial over the importance of 11 March, and principally occupy themselves with trying to find an Eta connection, whilst the PSOE had placed some hope on the idea that a withdrawal of the troops from Iraq would get Spain out of the middle of something. For geographical and historic reasons this is likely to prove impossible.