Spanish authorities arrested 10 people yesterday suspected of having links to the international network of Osama bin Laden, the prime suspect behind the September 11 attacks in the United States. It was the second time since the attacks that Spain has swooped on a suspected cell of Islamic militants with links to bin Laden's international network. Police in Madrid detained the 10 men because they were considered to be “the leading members of the Spanish infrastructure of the mujahideen movement...which forms part of the network of Osama bin Laden,” Interior Minister Mariano Rajoy told reporters. Mujahideen is the name given to Afghanistan's anti-Soviet resistance fighters of the 1980s, among them bin Laden, the Saudi-born militant and prime suspect behind the hijack attacks on New York and Washington. Spain arrested a suspected bin Laden lieutenant in June, and one of the alleged ringleaders of the September 11 hijackings was known to have travelled extensively in Spain in July. The leader of the group arrested yesterday was a Spanish citizen of Syrian origin -- identified as Imaz Edim Baraktiarkas -and the rest were Tunisian and Algerian, Rajoy said. The minister first announced nine arrests but an Interior Ministry spokeswoman later said a 10th suspect of unknown nationality was arrested subsequently. “The activities they were carrying out...were recruiting people to attend training camps and later commit terrorist acts and provide false documents to support people close to these groups,” Rajoy said from the southern city of Granada, site of Spanish-Italian summit.

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