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Madrid 'Ringleader' Blew Self Up In Blast

"The core of the group that carried out the attacks is either arrested or dead in yesterday's collective suicide, including the head of the operative commando," Interior Minister Angel Acebes told a news conference.

well now, isn't that 'convenient' . . .

SEE ALSO:
Madrid Suspects 'Blow Selves Up' in Blast During Police Raid
 http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2004/04/284933.shtml
Serhane ben Abdelmajid Farkhet was said to be the cell leader
Serhane ben Abdelmajid Farkhet was said to be the cell leader
Last Updated: Monday, 5 April, 2004, 05:18 GMT 06:18 UK

Blast killed five Madrid suspects

Spanish investigators now believe that five suspects in the Madrid train attacks inquiry blew themselves up during a police raid on their flat.

The authorities say the group's suspected ringleader, Serhane ben Abdelmajid Farkhet, died in the blast in a Madrid suburb on Saturday night.

One policeman died in the explosion and 11 other officers were injured, some of them seriously.

The 11 March bombings of four trains in the Spanish capital killed 191 people.

The mayor of the suburb of Leganes - where Saturday's blast occurred - has called on locals to take part in a peace march on Monday evening.

Cell 'smashed'

Serhane ben Abdelmajid Farkhet, alias The Tunisian, was named last week in international arrest warrants connected with the attacks.

Another of the dead suspects, Moroccan Abdennabi Kounjaa, was also among six suspects named in the arrest warrants, said Interior Minister Angel Acebes, who is part of the outgoing Spanish government.

A third man - Asri Rifaat Anouar - was not on the list, the minister said.

A fourth suspect, who has not been identified, was wearing a belt of explosives, Mr Acebes said.

The presence of a fifth suspect at the scene of the explosion was indicated late on Sunday after investigators had spent a full day removing body parts from the site of the blast.

Spain has already detained 15 suspects over the Madrid train attacks.

"The core of the group that carried out the attacks is either arrested or dead in yesterday's collective suicide, including the head of the operative commando," Mr Acebes told a news conference.

Police found 200 detonators of the kind used in the Madrid attacks and in the unexploded bomb that was discovered on the high speed Madrid-Seville rail line on Friday, Mr Acebes said.

Police also removed 10kg (22 pounds) of dynamite from the apartment.

The explosion destroyed the front of the building

"They were going to keep on attacking because some of the explosives were prepared, packed and connected to detonators," Mr Acebes said.

A further two or three people may have escaped before the blast, the minister said.

Before Saturday's explosion, the suspects reportedly spotted the police as they prepared to enter the flat and opened fire from the first floor window.

Neighbours said a group of North Africans had moved into the apartment about a month ago. They were rarely seen and the blinds were always drawn, the neighbours said.

Sunday saw Spain's outgoing Prime Minister, Jose Maria Aznar, and incoming Premier Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero attend the funeral of the dead special forces police officer, Javier Torrontera.

Arrests

The 11 March attacks on four commuter trains in Madrid was Europe's worst terror attack since the 1988 Lockerbie bombing.

Spain has provisionally charged 15 suspects in connection with the blasts.

Six of them have been charged with multiple counts of murder, and nine have been accused of collaborating with or belonging to a terrorist organisation.

Eleven of the detained 15 suspects are Moroccan.

The Moroccan Islamic Combatant Group is the main focus of police investigations.

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