From Reuters, with thanks to Nicolei:
Spain has arrested three suspected members of a radical Islamic group and sent four others back to jail amid signs of a crackdown on Muslim groups following the Madrid rail bombings.
Police detained two Algerians and a Syrian near the eastern city of Valencia who they believe may be part of a radical Muslim cell under investigation, a police statement said on Wednesday.
There is no indication the men, all in their forties, had any involvement in the March 11 train bombs that killed 190 people, the statement said.
The two Algerians may be linked to members of the Algerian Islamic Group arrested in Valencia in 1997, police believe.
Separately, Spain’s most famous High Court judge, Baltasar Garzon, ordered the return to prison of four suspected Muslim radicals who were released last year by another judge, court sources said.
The four were among 16 men arrested in January 2003 in the northeast region of Catalonia and are suspected of belonging to Algeria’s Salafist movement, a splinter organisation of the Armed Islamic Group with links to al Qaeda.
Garzon has accused the men of belonging to a terrorist group, but has not yet presented formal charges, the sources said. They are not suspected of links to the March 11 bombs.
The decision to send them back to prison was taken in light of new police reports, a court source said, but the judge provided no details.
When the men were arrested in January last year, Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar said his government had smashed a “major terrorist network”. But authorities released all but two of the men in March 2003 after suspected chemical weapons found at their homes turned out to be laundry soap.
After the Madrid train bombings, Interior Minister Angel Acebes announced Spain would take additional security measures, but did not provide details.
Spain’s El Mundo newspaper reported on Tuesday the Interior Ministry was considering imposing border controls and suspending the Schengen treaty between May 15 and 23 to tighten security for the wedding of heir-to-the-throne Prince Felipe on May 22.
An Interior Ministry spokesman had no comment on the report.
The Schengen agreement allows people to travel through much of the European Union without border checks.