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The Spanish may have thrown the last election to Al Qaeda (search), but their retreat from Iraq didn't buy them much time.

Spanish authorities are now being warned that Muslim extremism has grown in Spain since that country withdrew from Iraq in response to terrorist attacks last March. Just after the terror blasts, voters rejected the party that supported the coalition in Iraq. The new government quickly withdrew its forces from Iraq. Al Qaeda even issued a special message congratulating Spanish voters for complying with their demands.

But now a terrorist research institute in Madrid blames Spanish authorities for "closing their eyes" to the increasing threat from Muslim extremists. The director of the Institute for the Study of Conflicts and Humanitarian Action in Spain notes that Al Qaeda has not removed Spain from its hit list: "Even though we are no longer in Iraq, we are still on that list."

The Institute notes that many Spanish mosques are still being used as recruitment centers for terrorists. One such mosque in Madrid is the second largest in Europe, and continues to preach the radical brand of Islam advanced by the authors of the March 11 train bombings.

One monitor of Islamic extremism in Spain warns: "March 11 will not be the last attack on Spain by Al Qaeda."

And that’s the Observer.

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