MADRID — Police have arrested two suspected members of Al Qaeda’s North African branch in Spain, one of whom Spanish authorities said praised the Boston Marathon bombings, but neither of whom was known to possess explosives nor be planning an attack.
Interior Minister Jorge Fernandez Diaz asserted to reporters Tuesday that there were sufficient grounds to warrant the arrests, adding that they were made to avoid greater risks. Despite their alleged links to the terror network, Fernandez Diaz described the two suspects — an Algerian and a Moroccan — as essentially “lone wolves.”
Madrid will stage its own marathon on Sunday. Authorities on Monday said that while no risk or threat had been detected, 1,100 police and security personnel will be on duty.
A Spanish Interior Ministry statement said Nou Mediouni, an Algerian, was arrested in the northeastern city of Zaragoza, while Hassan El Jaaouani, a Moroccan, was arrested in the southeastern city of Murcia.
Mediouni, 23, studies computers while Jaaouani, 52, is out of work and has petty crime links, the ministry said.