Entries in Arrests (10)


Three Suspected Al Qaeda Members Arrested in Spain

Photodisc/Digital Vision/Thinkstock(LONDON) -- Spanish police arrested three suspected al Qaeda operatives on Wednesday out of fear they were planning an airborne attack in Europe, Spain's interior minister, Jorge Fernandez Diaz, said Thursday.

Spanish police have arrested dozens of alleged militants since 2004, when a key Madrid train station was attacked, but Spanish media reported these were the first caught with explosives -- meaning they had become an operational cell.

The three suspects -- two from ex-Soviet republics and a Turk -- had timers and enough explosives to blow up a bus, Diaz told a press conference in Madrid.

At least two of those arrested had practiced flying light aircraft -- believed to be a motorized paraglider, according to Spanish newspaper El Pais.  Diaz called one of those arrested a "very important member" of al Qaeda who is an expert in explosives and poison.

"It is one of the most important operations against al Qaeda to date to be carried out on an international level," Diaz said.  "There are clear indications that the suspects arrested could have been planning an attack in Spain, and or, other European countries."

Diaz described the two suspects from ex-Soviet republics -- believed to be Chechnyan -- as al Qaeda members and said they were arrested as they traveled on a bus, possibly to cross into France.

"Police moved to arrest them when it became known that they planned to leave Spain," he said.

Diaz said the Turk, who he described as a facilitator, was arrested in a house in the southern town of La Linea, where the explosives were found.

Diaz said non-Spanish, international investigations aided in the operation.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Seven Men Arrested in UK on Suspicion of Terrorism

Photodisc/Digital Vision/Thinkstock(LONDON) -- Seven men with suspected ties to terrorism were arrested this week in Britain following a routine vehicle stop, police said on Friday.

The men, ranging in age from 22 to 43, were detained between Tuesday morning and Thursday evening on suspicion of the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism.  The news of their arrests comes one day after British police announced they had arrested five men and one woman as part of a months-long international terror probe.

The latest arrests, however, were not part of that ongoing investigation.

"The arrests followed a routine stop of a vehicle by police on the M1 motorway in South Yorkshire on Saturday (June 30th)," West Midlands Police said in a statement.  "The car was impounded on suspicion of having no insurance.  Firearms, offensive weapons and other material were later found hidden inside, prompting police to take action to trace and arrest the driver, passenger and others suspected of being involved."

Authorities are analyzing the materials found in the car and are carrying out searches of the suspects' homes.  All seven are being held in the West Midlands area.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


London Police Arrest Six on Suspicion of Terrorism

Photodisc/Digital Vision/Thinkstock(LONDON) -- Authorities in London have arrested six possible terrorists -- subduing one with a stun-gun -- as part of a months-long international terror probe.

The investigation that prompted Thursday's arrests by armed police has so far revealed no known connection to the Olympic Games set to begin later this month, although several arrests occurred near the main Olympic venue in London, according to a police statement and intelligence sources.

Separately, as authorities searched eight homes on Thursday, police near Birmingham stopped a budget intercity bus after a passenger spotted a man pouring something into his bag, and then saw smoke coming out.

In that incident, on the M6 Motorway, armed police escorted passengers off the bus in what was intially described as a "counter-terror response."  Staffordshire Police later issued a statement saying they are not treating this as a counter terrorism incident.

As armed police officers and bomb-sniffing dogs continued their investigation, passengers remained seated on the motorway, which was closed in both directions.  At least 12 fire trucks were on scene supporting the police operation.  The fire department appeared to have erected inflatable "Hazmat" tents.

The incident was unconnected to the arrests, authorities stated.

In the terror probe investigation, five men and one woman, ages 21 to 29, were arrested in several locations across London by officers from Scotland Yard's Counter Terrorism Command.

The arrests were the "executive action" phase of a long-running investigation led by British intelligence service MI-5.

The men and woman were all arrested on suspicion of the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism under the Terrorism Act 2000, police said.  They were taken to a southeast London police station where they are in custody.

Authorities would not disclose further details of the case that might compromise their strategy for interviewing the suspects.  What they seized in the searches is unknown.

Police said the arrests in London are related to a possible plot involving Islamist extremists and potential targets in the United Kingdom.  The incident and arrests occurred days after two people were picked up on suspicion of plotting an attack on the London Olympic canoeing venue.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


'El Loco' Arrested After 49 Beheaded Bodies Found

YURI CORTEZ/AFP/GettyImages(MEXICO CITY) -- Authorities have arrested an alleged Zetas drug cartel leader nicknamed "El Loco," AKA the Fool or the Crazy One, on charges that he dumped 49 headless bodies on a highway outside Monterrey, Mexico.

When the Mexican Army came to arrest Daniel Elizondo Jesus Ramirez, say authorities, he attempted to elude capture by shooting at troops and throwing a fragmentation grenade. Zetas commanders nicknamed The Shrimp and The Speaker have also been linked to the body dump, but officials have not yet apprehended them.

The mutilated bodies of 43 men and six women were found near Cadereyta, Mexico on May 13. Though the condition of the bodies made it difficult to identify any of them, some physical features and tattoos indicated that they may have been migrants from southern Mexico and Central America.

A graphic seven-minute video posted on the web last week allegedly showed gunmen dumping the bodies, and then flourishing a "narcobanner" "signed" by El Loco and two other alleged Zetas commanders.

The banner warned that the same fate would befall members of rival cartels, the police and the military. The video is still available on-line, though a version that was posted on YouTube has been removed. The first version that appeared on YouTube was posted by someone who claimed to be a Zeta.

After the bodies were discovered in Cadereyta, the Zetas posted new "narcobanners" throughout Northern Mexico condemning the murders, but Mexican officials claimed they had only done so to create confusion about responsibility for the deaths.

The Zetas, who dominate much of eastern and northern Mexico, are battling the Gulf cartel and the Sinaloa cartel for dominance in Nuevo Leon and other Mexican states. Founded by former members of the Mexican military, the Zetas have a reputation for violence.

During a press conference in Mexico City, Brig. General Edgar Ruiz Villegas Melendez alleged that "El Loco" had been told to dump the bodies in the town square of Cadereyta but instead chose to dump them on a nearby highway. Villegas claimed that Ramirez, who was arrested Sunday, had confessed to dumping the corpses and said he'd done so on the orders of Zeta leaders.

El Loco is also a suspect in the kidnapping, murder and dismembering of two women last year, one of them the girlfriend of an Army lieutenant. He was mistakenly reported killed during an operation to apprehend the alleged kidnapers. He sent a taunting message to the Mexican media that said, "I'm still alive ... El Loco of the Zetas."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Five Men Arrested in England on Terrorism Charges

Photodisc/Digital Vision/Thinkstock(LONDON) -- Five men were taken into custody by British police near London on Tuesday "on suspicion of the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism," according to Scotland Yard.

The suspects, ranging in age from 21 to 30, were apprehended by officers from the Counter Terrorism Command at their homes in Luton.  Scotland Yard said the arrests were "part of a pre-planned, intelligence-led operation."

Authorities have obtained search warrants for each of the men's homes and are conducting thorough searches of the properties.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Third Iranian Detained in Connection to Bangkok Explosions

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(BANGKOK) -- Two Iranian men were caught in Bangkok on Tuesday after a series of explosions rattled a residential area there.  And now, another suspect has been detained.

According to officials, a third Iranian who had fled to neighboring Malaysia was caught on Wednesday.  Thai police say the Iranians were probably planning to attack individuals, rather than buildings or crowds.  A senior Thai intelligence official, speaking anonymously to global news agency AFP, said the men were preparing to target Israeli diplomats.

Israel has also linked the Iranians to recent attacks against Israeli diplomatic staff in India and the country of Georgia.  Iran, however, denies any involvement.

On Tuesday, an apparently accidental explosion tore through a home where the Iranians were living.  Two men were caught in the aftermath, and another reportedly tried to lob a grenade at police, but it exploded nearby, severing his legs.

Police searched the men's home and say they found C-4 explosives that could be attached to vehicles.

Meanwhile on Tuesday, the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok issued a warning to Americans to be alert in public and to watch out for unattended packages or bags.

A U.S. Embassy spokesperson told ABC News that the U.S. condemns the attack in Bangkok, but could not speculate on any possible connections to the attacks in India or Georgia.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Six Men Arrested in British Counterterrorism Operation to Appear in Court

Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock(LONDON) -- Six men who were arrested as part of an extensive counterterrorism operation by British police last week will appear before a court in London on Monday.

The men, aged between 25 and 32, were all detained near or at their homes in Birmingham between Sept. 18 and 19 for allegedly preparing to carry out a terrorist attack in the U.K. or failing to disclose pertinent information.

According to West Midlands police, three have been charged with "planning a suicide bombing campaign/event."  Out of those three, two have also been charged with "travelling to Pakistan for training in terrorism including bomb making, weapons and poison making."

The six men will make their appearance at West London Magistrates Court Monday afternoon.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


British Police Arrest Seven in Counterterrorism Operation

Digital Vision/Thinkstock(LONDON) -- A large counterterrorism operation by British police has led to the arrest of seven people in Birmingham, according to authorities.

In a statement, West Midlands police said six men aged between 25 and 32 were detained near or at their homes between Sunday night and early Monday morning "on suspicion of the commission, preparation or instigation of an act of terrorism in the U.K."  Another suspect, a 22-year-old woman, was arrested at 6:30 a.m. Monday for allegedly failing to disclose information that could be pertinent to a terrorist attack.

All seven are being held for questioning as police conduct searches on their homes and seven other properties in Birmingham.

Marcus Beale, the West Midlands assistant chief constable, said he couldn't go into detail about the nature of the suspected offenses because the operation was still in its early stages.

"However, I believe it was necessary to take action at this time in order to ensure public safety," he said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Four Arrested in Sweden over Possible Terror Plot

Digital Vision/Thinkstock(STOCKHOLM) -- Four people were arrested in Sweden Sunday on suspicion of plotting a terror attack on the 10th anniversary of 9/11, local authorities said.

The arrests took place in Goteborg, where a celebration was taking place at the Roda Sten arts center to mark the opening of an international festival for contemporary art.  Following a terror threat, the near 400 people at the center were evacuated overnight.

It is not yet known if there is a connection between the four arrests and the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Pakistani Cops Arrest 3 in American Kidnapping

Pakistan police have released a sketch of a person they believe to be involved in the abduction of Warren Weinstein. Handout(WASHINGTON) -- Pakistani police have arrested three men in connection with the kidnapping of 70-year-old American Warren Weinstein more than 10 days ago.

Police officers declined to give details about who the men are and what their connection to the Aug. 13 abduction may be. The three were detained by police Tuesday but were not officially arrested until Wednesday, authorities said.

No group has come forward to claim the kidnapping or issue demands in exchange for Weinstein's return -- an unusual development which sparked concern among some officials over Weinstein's fate. But one Pakistani intelligence official told ABC News last week there was no evidence to suggest the abductors had intended to kill Weinstein or that he had been accidentally killed.

"The Pakistanis are leading a very vigorous investigation," U.S. Department of State spokesperson Victoria Nuland said Wednesday, noting that the FBI and the U.S. Embassy are assisting in efforts to track Weinstein down.

Weinstein, a private U.S. citizen who has lived in Pakistan for seven years, was sleeping in his bed when assailants burst into his home to snatch him. The former USAID worker is currently employed by the private U.S.-based development firm J.E. Austin Associates.

All three suspects are from the same province in which Weinstein lived, an area far from the turbulent tribal regions near the Afghan border more usually associated with violent attacks. The men were arrested after investigators managed to track their cellphone numbers, the Lahore police chief said without elaborating.

Weinstein's friends and colleagues describe him as a diligent worker dedicated to helping Pakistani people.

"He is a tireless worker for development in Pakistan," Geoff Quartermaine Bastin, who worked with Weinstein after meeting him six years ago, told ABC News. Bastin said Weinstein "worked 18-hour days, three phones at once while talking to a fourth person at the table."

"He is very smart, very motivated and loved Pakistan and its people. He is careless of his health and safety, going everywhere to push his projects," Bastin said.

Weinstein suffers from a heart condition, and J.E. Austin Associates released a long list of medications that he takes, appealing to his abductors to provide them for him.

Some in Pakistan have speculated privately that Weinstein was not a development worker, but instead worked in intelligence for the U.S. Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah publicly announced his suspicions last week, telling local media that Weinstein was involved in "quite suspect" intelligence-gathering for the U.S. government and compared him to Raymond Davis, the American CIA contractor who was jailed in Pakistan earlier this year for shooting two men on the streets of Lahore.

U.S. diplomats said Weinstein is not connected to any U.S. intelligence groups.

Weinstein is the first private citizen to be kidnapped in Pakistan since al Qaeda operatives abducted and murdered Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl in 2002.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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