“Spain is the last ring of Salafism in Europe“. This appears written in a confidential report of the Italian Prosecutor’s office from 2001 and sums up the huge spread of this Islamist group in the country. This same group has kidnapped 3 volunteers in Mauritania.
A group funded and formed by recruits belonging to different cells and their supporters in Spain. A group which has its more productive and comfortable European basis in Spain, after France.
Last reports sent to Spanish Government by the National Inteligence Center (CNI), the General Police and Civil Guard Information Office point out that Spain is a “recruitment ground” and “constant source of funding” of AQIM (Al-Qaeda for an Islamic Maghreb). There are around 30 open investigations now in Spain about Islamist terrorism which have this group as their target.
The author of this Italian report about Salafism explained how since the late 90s, the leaders in Europe of the Hassan Hattab’s cells, the then leader of the Salafist Group for the Preaching and Combat (GSPC), ended up taking refuge in Spain, attracted like a magnet.The members of AQIM that kidnapped Alicia Gómez, Roque Pascual and Albert Villalta since Nov 29th, have a lot of “brothers” that are now waiting to be judged or imprisoned for belonging to this “organization”, according to Penitentiary Institution’s sources. Most of them are Algerians, but there are also Moroccans and Tunisians.
The last six imprisoned from this organization were judged last November in the Second Tribunal of the National Court in Madrid. They were normal types, no long beards, wore jeans, wool jerseys and cheap shoes. In the faces of 33-year-old Fares, 39-year-old Fathi, 39-year-old Salah, 50-year-old Abdelkader, 45-year-old Abdelfatah and 43-year-old Lahouari, the fear of being sentenced to more than 100 year in prison appeared. The charges are robbing several houses in Costa del Sol resorts to fund the murders of dozens of people in Algeria and Mauritania.
“I have been on a mission and have eliminated 25 infidels”, confessed on the phone, 45-year-old Abdelhakim Fekkar, aka Hakim, the imam who appears to have organised the group in his talks with them in the prison of Topas (Salamanca). The terrorist attack wasn’t a fantasy from “brother” Hakim. In Tebessa (Algeria) 15 soldiers died in those days and 13 were severely hurt in an ambush of one of the AQMI’s cells. Days afterwards Hakim told them of another attack in which he also took part. His mission in Mauritania also was held in the same days when another terrorist attacks to the military base on Lemgheity,near the Algerian-Mali frontier. The result, of which he also boasted, was 15 people killed.
The ammunition for these attacks, the explosives’ acquisition and the infrastructure to build campings in the Sahel desert, where Algerian Army can’t locate them, are all funded with the money and jewels which are stolen by the group’s army of supporters. Stolen cars in Spanish cities and drug trafficking fund also this criminal activity of the new AQ base in Africa, an itinerant base which goes and comes very quickily in a nobody’s territory where the old 4×4 of the fragile armies of Mauritania and Mali can’t reach and the US satellites get confused by the terrorists dressing themselves as shepherds, shopkeepers or livestock farmers.
“It’s very difficult to know how much money they have raised here, but in the last years, they have received from Spain a million euros at least”, according to an agent from the General Information Office. Stealing is not the only way to fund the movement: there are also donations made to continue the jihad in Africa using the net of halal meat butchers and the zakat (alms) from some radical mosques. A joint group of Spanish and French Judges and Prosecutors, studies the phenomenon of funding channels for AQIM. “The money is send without any stops. We are an inexhaustible source, but this is very difficult to fight because most of it moves through hawala (a payment system held outside the traditional finance system)” according to one member of the equipment.
Salafists which fund and recruit for the Sahel are all over Spain. Since 11S, the moment when the police was awakened and began carrying on “preventive” detentions, an important number of their militants have been recruited in Andalucía, Ceuta y Melilla, Basque Country, Navarra, Aragón, Madrid and Catalonia. Some judges from National Court, like Baltasar Garzón, have questioned in their offices hundreds of their militants and are familiar with their practices and targets.
“The GSPC (now AQMI) is a terrorist group of radical Islamist inspiration of Sunni fundamentalist ideology. Its followers are inspired in the Salafi movement (…) Their main objective is to reinstaurate in Algeria an Islamic republic in which the Quram would be the only law, preaching Jihadi to destroy Algerian state (…) and using terrorist fight as the only mean to reach their goals”, declared Judge Félix Degayón in a judicial decree in which he ordered the search for 5 Salafist who fled from Operation Green, the one who just had arrested and carried before the judges the condos’ robberies of the Costa del Sol.
Today, this decree would not be valid as the Salafist group has widened its targets and now is pursuing a new califate and an Islamic republic bigger than Algeria. On Sept 13th 2006, Abu Musab Abde I Wadud, the GSPC’s Algerian emir announced his servitud to Osama Bin Laden.
“We have decided to (…) pledge fidelity to Abd Abd Allah Osama Bin Laden. We have reached an agreement with a handshake and we offer him the fruit of our hearts (…). You won’t find in us but ears and obedience”. And Wadud supported the union because “the Islamic Umma can’t win his enemies if it doesn’t renounce to its differences. (…) Is it reasonable that the Mujahideen remain scattered?”.
The pledge to Bin Laden and this call for the union of the Mujahideens have achieved what looked like impossible: all the Jihadist groups from the north of Africa are united, a time bomb of unknown and unforseeable differences. So, the salafists from the GSPC bind today to the Moroccan Islamic Fighter Group (GICM), the Lybian Islamic Fighter Group, the Tunisian movements and other satellites, according to the CNI’s analysts. In 2007, Islam’s lion (Osama bin Laden) let the GSPC Argelian terrorists to be renamed as “Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb”, the group that had kidnapped the three Spanbish volunteers. “This blessing has turned them into a model in the north of Africa, so a lot of people would like to be recruited by them. Dozens of them have already done that from Spain”, according to UC2’s Chief, the Civil Guard’s unit which investigates on Islamist terrorism. A nightmare for the European intelligence services, specially for Spain and France, as they fear that Salafists will train their men on the desert and then order them to strike on European targets.
The murder on last May of Edwin Dyer, a 61-year-old botanist, after the United Kingdom denied to free the bearded imam Abu Qutada, Salafists’ icon and friend of several of AQ’s prisoners in Spanish prisons, is the most important of the Government’s worries. The kidnappers’ press release suggests that they will try to free their “imprisoned tortured brothers in your prisons”. A petition that never has been attended to in Europe.
TX to Alianza de Civilizaciones.