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Europe Faces 'New Quality of Threat'
VOA News
14 Mar 2004, 19:14 UTC

 
The German government has called for an immediate meeting of European Union security officials to assess the threat posed by al-Qaida's apparent involvement in last week's Madrid train bombings that killed 200 people.

German Interior Minister Otto Schilly said Sunday that the videotape found claiming al-Qaida responsibility for the blasts means Europe faces "a new quality of threat from Islamic terrorism."

Mr. Schilly publicly called on Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern, whose country currently holds the EU's rotating presidency, to hold a meeting this week so the Union can rethink its security measures.

The Spanish government says it has been unable to identify the alleged al-Qaida spokesman on the videotape. Interior Minister Angel Acebes told a news conference Sunday the man remains unidentified even after consultations with British, French, and Portuguese authorities.

The government recovered the tape from a trash bin in Madrid after an anonymous call to a local television station.

Meanwhile, Moroccan authorities have identified three Moroccan men detained by Spanish police in connection with the bombings. Communications Minister Nabil Bengdallah said Sunday in Rabat they are office worker Jamal Zougam, mechanic Mohamed Bekkali, and factory worker Mohamed Chaoui. All three are in their 30s.

Two other men detained by Spanish authorities remain unidentified.

The five men were arrested Saturday in connection with a mobile phone and prepaid phone card found in an explosives-filled gym bag on one of the four trains bombed Thursday.