MADRID, Spain – A Spanish judge charged four more suspects early Tuesday with terrorism and mass killings for alleged roles in a string of railway blasts that killed 202 people.
The charges against the three Moroccans and one Spaniard followed hours of interrogation and brought to nine the number of people charged in the March 11 terror attack.
The court action came as outgoing Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar (search) defiantly declared that he has no regrets over supporting the Iraq war, adding that his successor's plans to likely pull troops from Iraq would weaken the international coalition against terrorism.
Aznar's party suffered a surprise defeat amid charges that he had provoked the bombings by backing the war.
"I am going with my head held high and proud of the job I have done," he said in an interview with the TV station Telecinco. He also accepted some of the blame for his party's loss.
Judge Juan del Olmo charged Spaniard Jose Emilio Suarez, accused of providing explosives for the attacks, with 190 counts of murder, 1,430 counts of attempted murder, robbery and collaborating or belonging to a terrorist organization.
Moroccan Abderrahim Zbakh was charged with all those same offenses except robbery. Officials said he left the courtroom in tears.
Mohamed El Hadi Chedadi and Abdelouahid Berrak, also Moroccans, were charged with collaborating with or belonging to a terrorist organization.
The judge ordered a fifth suspect, a Moroccan, released for lack of evidence.
Besides the nine suspects formally charged, four others are being held but haven't been formally accused.
The charges stop short of a formal indictment, but suggest the court has strong evidence against the suspects. They can remain in jail two years while investigators gather more evidence.
Court officials said the latest suspects were arrested early Monday, three who were picked up in Madrid's Lavapies district, a multiethnic neighborhood where chief suspect Jamal Zougam (search) ran a cell phone shop.
Suarez, a former miner, admitted helping Moroccans still at large obtain explosives but said he did not know what the dynamite would be used for. All three Moroccans denied involvement in the attacks.
Chedadi, the brother of a suspect jailed in Spain in 2001 on charges of being part of a Spain-based cell that allegedly helped plan the Sept. 11 attacks in the United States, denied any involvement in the Madrid attacks and said he learned of them that same morning while watching cartoons at home with his children, court officials said.
The scale of the March 11 attacks, which also wounded more than 1,800 and traumatized the country, was reflected in the government's decision to hold a state funeral Wednesday for those slain.
It is the first time since democracy was restored after Gen. Francisco Franco's death in 1975 that a state funeral has been held for anyone other than a member of the royal family, government officials said.
U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, French President Jacques Chirac (search), German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder (search), British Prime Minister Tony Blair (search), England's Prince Charles and other dignitaries are to attend the service at Madrid's Almudena cathedral.
Senior intelligence officials of Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Spain met Monday in the Spanish capital to discuss the bombings and address fears the Continent might become the next front in the war against terror.
The Spanish Interior Ministry declined to comment on the results of the meeting, one of series of European Union actions triggered by the commuter train attacks.
EU heads of state and government are to hold a special summit this week in Brussels to review security proposals including appointment of an anti-terrorism coordinator, establishment of a European terrorism database, mandatory national identity cards and increased security at train stations, airports and other vulnerable targets.
A French newspaper reported Monday that Jordanian terror suspect Abu Musab al-Zarqawi personally asked Usama bin Laden to help finance a Moroccan group suspected in the Madrid bombings and the attacks last May in Casablanca, Morocco that killed 45 people including 12 terrorists.
Bin Laden was at first reluctant but eventually gave al-Zarqawi $70,000, Le Figaro said, quoting a senior Moroccan official. This was the genesis of the Moroccan Islamic Combatant Group, which may have had a supervisory role over the attacks in Casablanca and Madrid, Le Figaro said.
Al-Zarqawi is said to have strong links to Ansar al-Islam, an Islamic extremist guerrilla group blamed for terrorist strikes in Iraq, Jordan, Turkey and Morocco.
Zougam, a Moroccan immigrant, is a prime suspect in the Madrid bombings. He and two other Moroccans have been jailed on multiple counts of murder. Four other Moroccans were arrested last week.
Le Figaro named another Moroccan who holds British nationality, Mohamed Guerbouzi, who allegedly met with Zougam in London.
Gherbouzi was convicted in absentia by Morocco in December in connection with the Casablanca attacks and sentenced to 20 years in prison.
Suspicion over the 10 bombs targeting the Madrid commuter rail network has focused on the Al Qaeda terror group or an alleged Morocco-based terror cell believed to have links to bin Laden's organization.
Of the suspects detained before Monday, a judge jailed three -- all Moroccans -- on charges of multiple counts of murder. One of the Moroccans was Zougam, who has been linked by court documents to members of an Al Qaeda cell in Spain.
Police have also traced a cell phone found attached to an unexploded bomb to the shop Zougam ran in Lavapies. The bombs that ripped through the trains are believed to have used cell phones as detonators.
Two Indians also were jailed on charges of collaborating with a terrorist organization.
Spanish investigators have analyzed a videotape in which a man claiming to speak on behalf of Al Qaeda said the group carried out the Madrid attack in reprisal for Spain's backing of the U.S.-led war in Iraq.
The ruling Popular Party fell in a surprise defeat in general elections March 14 to Zapatero's Socialist party which, along with a majority of Spaniards, had opposed the Iraq war.