RABAT, Morocco – Moroccan officials said Friday they have arrested an alleged member of a terrorist group that is believed linked to the 2004 Madrid bombings and 2003 attacks in Casablanca.
Saad Houssaini was arrested Thursday in Casablanca for his alleged role in the Moroccan Islamic Combatant Group, Interior Ministry spokesman Abderrahman Achour said.
The group, known by its French acronym GICM, is considered a terrorist group by several governments and has been implicated in the Madrid and Casablanca attacks.
Achour said the investigation into Houssaini has not linked him personally to either attack.
Spain's National Court and Spanish police said Friday that Houssaini was not wanted in the Madrid attacks. They said his name had come up in the Spanish investigation, but only in connection to the Casablanca bombings.
On March 11, 2004, a group of mostly North African Muslim extremists blew up four Madrid commuter trains, killing 191 people and injuring more than 1,500. Currently 29 people are on trial for their alleged roles in the attacks, including 15 Moroccans.
The attacks in Casablanca killed 45 people, including 12 suicide bombers, and woke up the North African nation to the threat of Islamic terrorism.
The Interior Ministry said Houssaini is a Moroccan who had traveled to Afghanistan and had been wanted by Moroccan police since 2002. Experts say the GICM was started by Moroccans who had traveled to Afghanistan the 1990s.
Morocco's MAP state news agency said he allegedly headed the military wing of the GICM.
Three French citizens were among those killed in the Casablanca bombings, and top French anti-terror judge Jean-Louis Bruguiere wrapped up his investigation into the attack this week. He has charged nine people for "criminal association with a terrorist enterprise," a common French terror charge, or terrorist financing.