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Suicide Blast in Spain Kills 4 Bombers, 1 Policeman - 2004-04-04


A top official in Spain says the suspected ringleader of last month's deadly Madrid train bombings last month has killed himself as police were about to arrest him.

Interior Minister Angel Acebes says the dead man, a Tunisian named Sarhane Ben Abdelmajid Fakhet, set off an explosion that killed himself and three other men wanted for the terrorist attack on the Spanish capital. Mr. Acebes called the explosion a "collective suicide."

Police said they had surrounded an apartment building in (Leganes) a southern suburb of Madrid and were about to burst in and begin making arrests when the suspects opened fire and set off the explosion Saturday. The blast ripped off part of the front wall of the five-story building.

One police officer also died, and 12 others were injured.

The Interior Minister says the terrorist suspects apparently were planning other attacks. Detonators and dynamite were recovered from their wrecked apartment.

Spanish authorities have blamed Islamic extremists with ties to the al-Qaida network for the devastating attack on Madrid's railway system on March 11, in which multiple bombs exploding almost simultaneously killed 191 people.

A powerful bomb was recovered Friday from a track used by high-speed passenger trains traveling between Madrid and (the city of) Seville, and investigators say it contained the same type of explosives used in last month's attacks in the capital.

Information for this report is provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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