A paniard of Moroccan origin may be among the prisoners from Afghanistan being held in the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay on Cuba, a Spanish Interior Ministry spokesman said yesterday. U.S. troops captured several European nationals during the military action against the Taliban government and Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda militant force in Afghanistan, in response to the September 11 attacks on the United States. “The U.S. has informed us of the possibility that a man from Ceuta could be in Guantanamo,” the spokesman said. “Spanish police have sent copies of fingerprints to the U.S. for comparison and we are waiting for the result, which we expect to arrive today,” he added yesterday. National radio identified the prisoner as Ahmed Abderraman, 27, from the Spanish North African enclave of Ceuta. It quoted his mother as saying she had last seen him five or six months ago when he told her he was going to Madrid and then to Britain to look for work. El Pais, citing sources involved in the investigation into the man's identity, said the man was of Moroccan origin and had been recruited by a Spanish branch of al Qaeda, which was disbanded last year. Defence Minister Federico Trillo told journalists on Thursday that two of three prisoners' claims to be Spanish had been proved false and a third was still under investigation. “We know there was talk of three. At least two of them are Pakistanis with false Spanish passports and there is still a third person of doubtful nationality,” he said yesterday. The Foreign Ministry said that if it had confirmation that a Spaniard had been detained, it would offer him the usual diplomatic assistance.

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