MADRID, Spain – Fingerprints found in a plastic bag containing detonators of the kind used in the March 11 Madrid train bombings (search) were identified as belonging to an Algerian national, police said Thursday evening.
Police made no reference to the claim earlier this month by the FBI that a fingerprint from the bag belonged to Portland-area lawyer Brandon Mayfield (search). He was arrested on May 6 as a material witness in the bombings that killed 191 people and wounded more than 2,000.
Asked by The Associated Press whether the fingerprints now traced to the Algerian would exonerate Mayfield, a police spokeswoman declined to comment.
Police declined to say whether other prints may be on the bag.
Earlier, Spanish police said only eight points of coincidence linked the print to Mayfield, but the FBI said they had 15 matching points.
From Washington, the FBI also declined to comment. "Because of the nature of this case, we can't comment on this," spokesman Bill Carter said in a short telephone interview.
Mayfield's family in Oregon (search) insists he is innocent.
The bag was found in a van hours after the blasts in or near downtown Madrid during the morning rush hour when trains were crowded with passengers. The van had been left near the train station of Alcala de Henares (search) from which three of the four bombed trains had departed.
Spanish police previously had expressed doubt that an unidentified fingerprint definitely belonged to Mayfield and finally traced at least two fingerprints to Ouhnane Daoud of Algeria, but gave no further details.
"The fingerprints found in a plastic bag with seven detonators that the police found inside a van Renault Kangoo, stolen by the terrorists of March 11, belong to Algerian Ouhnane Daoud," according to the police statement.
"The extensive and meticulous work of the Spanish scientific police has determined completely that the fingerprint identifications are of the medium and thumb fingers of the Algerian's right hand," the statement added.
The Europa Press news agency reported Daoud had a residency permit to live in Spain and had a police record.
Telecinco TV station reported Thursday night that identification of the Algerian probably ruled out Mayfield as a suspect.