Spain Arrests 2 Madrid Bombing Suspects

Police have arrested a Syrian and an Egyptian in the March 11 train bombings that killed 191 people, the interior minister said Thursday.

The two were arrested Wednesday in Irun (search), near Spain's border with France, were identified as Adman Waki, 28, of Syria, and Ahmed Ibrahim Kassem, 27, of Egypt, said Interior Minister Jose Antonio Alonso said.

He described Waki as "an important person in the structure behind the carrying out of the attacks."

Waki had links with five of the seven people suspected in the bombings, Alonso said. The seven killed themselves April 3 in a suicide blast in an apartment on the outskirts of Madrid (search) as police prepared to arrest them.

Alonso gave no details as to what suspected role Kassem might have played in the attacks.

News reports said Waki is also believed to have used the same prepaid phone card and telephone as the alleged ideological mastermind of the railway attacks, Serhane Ben Abdelmajid Fakhet, of Tunisia. He was one of the seven killed in the April 3 blast.

The arrests were ordered by Juan del Olmo, the investigating magistrate.

Seventeen people have been jailed on provisional charges in relation to the bombings, which are blamed on Islamist militants with possible connections to Al Qaeda (search).

News reports said one of the two arrested Wednesday may also have had contact with Rabei Osman Ahmed, a 27-year-old Egyptian. As the suspected ringleader of the attackers, Ahmed has been held in solitary confinement since being extradited to Spain from Italy on Tuesday.

Alonso said he believed that documents and computer material handed over by Italian authorities with Osman Ahmed "would show that this person had an important role in the attacks."