Mastermind of Madrid is key figure
THE terrorist believed to have organised last year’s Madrid train attacks is emerging as a figure in the hunt for the London bombers.
Spanish security sources are said to have warned four months ago that Mustafa Setmariam Nasar, a 47-year-old Syrian, had identified Britain as a likely target.
Coded commands from the Syrian, thought to have included threats to other European countries including Britain, were found in a flat raided after the Madrid bombings in March 2004.
Spanish investigators said Nasar, now believed to be in Iraq, had set up a “sleeper? cell of terrorists in Britain. But they believed he was planning an attack to coincide with the British general election in May, rather than the G8 summit last week.
One Spanish website yesterday claimed the General Information Commission, a Spanish police intelligence body, issued a report in March warning that Britain and Spain were the primary western targets. The statement was based on Spanish investigations into the Madrid bombings.
In addition, investigators have noted strong similarities in the methods of the two multiple, coordinated bombings against public transport systems.
Last Friday, a team of Spanish detectives arrived in London to help the Metropolitan police with the investigation.
After last week’s explosions, police were believed to be looking into Mohamed el-Gerbouzi, a Moroccan living in London who has been jailed in Morocco in his absence for terrorism offences. Yesterday, however, senior Met officers were strongly discounting that he had any involvement in the London bombings.
Nasar, from Aleppo, Syria, also known as Abu Musab al-Asuri, who has a $5m (