Spanish authorities detain three Al-Qaida suspects

MADRID, Spain -- Three al-Qaida suspects were taken into custody Tuesday, including one who had videotaped several American landmarks including the Golden Gate Bridge, the Sears Tower, the Statue of Liberty and the World Trade Center.

Police said they were convinced the footage, taken during a 1997 visit to the United States by one of the detainees, was much more than "tourist curiosity."

At least one suspect was recruited by a man whom Spanish authorities say helped prepare the Sept. 11 attacks and was linked to the al-Qaida cell that included hijacker Mohamed Atta.

It was a further indication that Spain, with a growing Arab immigrant population, may have been used by al-Qaida as the setting for crucial logistic support in the Sept. 11 attacks.

Spain has been a focal point of the overseas investigation launched after the terrorist attacks on the United States. An FBI task force is working with law enforcement authorities in Spain to locate and capture suspected terrorists, including men with terrorist links who have traveled to the United States in recent years.

Visit by hijacker

Investigators have already gathered ample evidence that Atta visited Spain twice in 1991 including a weeklong trip in July where he may have attended a series of meetings with other al-Qaida operatives.

In November, authorities arrested Imad Yarkas on charges he led an al-Qaida cell with links to Atta's cohorts in Hamburg, Germany. Authorities have said they recorded phone conversations in which Yarkas allegedly spoke in code about the suicide attacks.

The men detained Tuesday were Ghasoub Al-Abrash Ghalyoun -- who shot the videos in the United States -- as well as Abdalrahman Alarnaot Abu-Aljer and Mohamen Khair Al Saqq.

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