- The Washington Times - Friday, January 24, 2003

MADRID, Jan. 24 (UPI) — A weeklong wave of arrests of suspected Islamist militants across Europe continued Friday with Spanish police arresting 10 Moroccans suspected of belonging to the al Qaida network.

Security sources said the 10 were rounded up in Barcelona and Gerona in an operation conducted in coordination with French and British security agencies.

The suspects, whose identities were not revealed, were alleged to have been trained in al Qaida camps in Afghanistan before coming to Spain.

Search operations were underway for other al Qaida suspects, the sources said.

The Spanish arrests follow that of five Moroccans Thursday by police in northern Italy. The Muslim militants were found in possession of explosives and suspected of planning attacks on London and a NATO base in Italy. Among those held was Reduane Bnoughazi, 32, religious leader of the Muslim community in Rovigo.

On Monday, seven Muslims were arrested when British police raided a mosque in the Finsbury Park area of London. The mosque was known as a center of virulent anti-Western preaching and believed to be used to recruit Islamist militants. Charges were later dropped against three of those arrested.

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