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Three Al Qaeda members detained in Spain

Explosive material found is enough to “destroy a bus,” according to interior minister

Suspects were reportedly trained in Pakistan and Afghanistan

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The three suspected members of Al-Qaeda arrested by Spanish police. AFP

Interior Minister Jorge Fernández Díaz confirmed on Thursday that three men believed to have links to Al Qaeda were detained the day before in Almuradiel (Ciudad Real) and La Linea de la Concepción (Cádiz).

One of the men, who has been confirmed as Turkish, had explosives in his apartment in San Roque, Cádiz, where he lives with his Moroccan wife. The minister described the material as having “the potential to destroy a bus.”

The two other men, who are thought to be Chechen, were detained in Almuradiel. One of the men is reported to have put up “particularly strong resistance” to arrest.

The three are thought to have been planning an attack “in Spain and/or Europe,” according to the authorities. The police also located a hidden compartment in the Cádiz apartment that was used to store explosives, but had recently been emptied. “The explosives sniffer dogs reacted very strongly,” one officer said.

The men reportedly received training at camps in Pakistan and Afghanistan and are thought to have links with a cell called LET (Lashkar-e-Taiba, Army of the Righteous in Arabic), which was responsible for the 2008 bombings in Bombay that left 170 dead.

The authorities became aware of the suspects’ presence in Spain after their entry via France. They had been seen flying motorized paragliders on several occasions, and the police believe they planned to use these crafts to launch an attack from the air. They also pointed out that the area where the suspects had been residing is close to the Spanish-American military base at Rota.