Mohamed Ibn Guadi has kindly forwarded me a link to an interesting October 1, 2001 article by one Paolo Pontoniere: “In Spain: ETA and Al-Qaeda Forge New Anti-EU Alliance.”
The Basque terrorist organization ETA and bin Laden’s al-Qaeda cells have joined forces. Their shared goal: to organize and carry out an attack on the EU meeting scheduled for March 2002 in Barcelona, according to two Spanish publications, Tiempo and El Mundo.
According to the reports, which have been confirmed by Italian and French media, representatives of the two terrorist organizations have already met together three times in Brussels in December 2000; in Malaga, Spain in February 2001; and in Barcelona last July.
According to the European reports, the terrorists have planned a suicide attack on the meeting that would entail the use of five car bombs provided by ETA, and delivered by five al-Qaeda suicide drivers. European authorities consider this news credible, and have disclosed that Mohammed Atta–one of the terrorists responsible for the early September attack on the World Trade Center–may have also attended the July meeting between ETA and al-Qaeda in Barcelona.
In its report, Tiempo revealed that, thanks to a tip-off by US Navy intelligence, Spanish authorities were able to prevent another al-Qaeda attack last December. This one would have involved striking American aircraft carriers with suicide vessels filled with the deadly explosive C-4. The attack–like the assault on the USS Cole in a Yemeni port–was scheduled to take place as the two aircraft carriers would have readied to moor at NATO’s Rota navy base near Cadiz. The suicide motor boats would have departed from the nearby coast of Morocco, a country with a significant Muslim population.
Spain, because of its proximity to Morocco and Algeria, has experienced a significant influx of Muslim immigrants. According to authorities, there are now about 500,000 Muslim immigrants living in Spain. Experts estimate that, among these emigres, are about 100 al-Qaeda agents ready at any moment to hit a Spanish or American target.