Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Thwarted in Gibraltar: Terror From the Air

Terrorists in Cádiz and Ciudad Real

The latest information presented before a judge in a Spanish court indicates that the three alleged Al Qaeda terrorists arrested last week were planning to drop explosives on a shopping center in Gibraltar using paragliders or model planes.

Many thanks to our Spanish correspondent Hermes for translating this article from Algeciras al minuto:

The terrorists were planning attacks in Gibraltar and Puerta de Europa

The presumed Russian Islamists of Chechen origin arrested last Thursday in Almuradiel — Ciudad Real had in mind to carry out an attack at the Campo de Gibraltar — Algeciras, concurrent with the London Olympics, as may be deduced by the investigation led by the judge of the National High Court Pablo Ruz, legal sources said.

This is the conclusion at which the investigators arrived after questioning the flying instructor with whom Eldar Magomedov a.k.a. “Muslim Dost”, Muhamed Ankari Adamov and the Turkish national Cengiz Yalcin contacted in order to learn how to fly with paragliders during their stay in La Línea de la Concepción (Cádiz).

The instructor testified as a witness and affirmed that the presumed Islamists repeatedly asked him to make photos of the Puerta de Europa shopping center, in Algeciras. This made investigators think that this building could have been one of their targets in the action they were planning.

The Permission From Gibraltar

The instructor explained to them that for this purpose they would be flying into the airspace of Gibraltar, and permission from the authorities of the colony was needed.

The cited sources explained that the presumed attack would have been carried out with two-metre-long model planes capable of carrying up to one kilogram of explosives. This is what can be deduced from the “video material” which, according to judge Pablo Ruz, could rationally suggest that some kind of terrorist action was being prepared.

Expert’s Report About the Voices Heard in the Video

The images show a model plane dropping a package, and shouts of joy can be also be heard from a man who according to the investigators could have been Yengiz, given the fact that the man expressed himself in Turkish. In order to support these assumptions, prosecutor Pedro Martínez Torrijos requested the judge to commission an expert report about the voice in the video.

Last Sunday Judge Pablo Ruz questioned the two Chechens again after having prolonged their detention on Friday due to lack of evidence against them, and charged them with the crimes of belonging to a terrorist organization and possession of explosives and devices to be used in terrorist actions. The Turkish national was charged only with the latter crime. The device seized in the flat in la Línea de la Concepción (Cádiz) where the two Chechens lived consisted of 150 grams of gunpowder inside a glass jar which had no detonating cord, but was “ready to be used”, sources said. The judge pointed out the “high damage potential” the device would have had if it had been used.

Protected Witness

The three alleged terrorists were charged on the grounds of information given by various foreign secret services. According to the declarations by a protected witness, Magomedov — who appeared in court on Friday using his false name of Ahmad Avar — had allegedly participated in terrorist activities from 2010 in Waziristan (Pakistan) and Afghanistan.

The judicial decree pointed out that the investigation made it possible to state the relationship between the detainees and other persons “already investigated” for having “clear and important” links with terrorist organizations of international scope, which was partially acknowledged in the judicial process.

The information given by the protected witness was sent to the Justice Department of the United States, although the investigation was carried out using information given also by France, the police service of Gibraltar and Russia, the latter having provided Magomedov’s real identity.

Previous posts about the terror arrests in Spain:

2012 Aug 2 Terror in Ciudad Real
    3 More on the Ciudad Real Terrorists
    5 The Gibraltar Connection
    5 Al Qaeda’s Political Refugees in Spain
    7 The Mastermind of Al Qaeda in Europe?