March 2004 Madrid bombings key suspect to face extradition to Spain

A Belgrade judge has ordered a key suspect in the Madrid bombings detained pending possible extradition to Spain.

Abdelmajid Bouchar, a 22-year-old Moroccan, was arrested in Serbia on Tuesday. He is wanted in connection with the March 2004 attacks that killed 191 people in Madrid.

Judge Branislav Pantelic said Thursday that he ordered Bouchar detained for pending a possible extradition hearing. Suspects can be held for up to a year on such orders.

Spain's National Court has said it would seek his extradition, the Spanish state news agency Efe reported.

Bouchar was arrested Tuesday while traveling by train from the northern town of Subotica to the Montenegrin coastal town of Bar, police said. The suspect had no identification on him but Madrid's Interpol office confirmed his identify, police said.

Spain's Interior Ministry said Serbia police became suspicious when Bouchar refused to speak and sent his fingerprints to Interpol, which matched his prints with those provided by Spain, reports The AP.

Bouchar escaped from a suburban Madrid apartment three weeks after the bombings as police were closing in on a group of prime suspects, according to the judge leading the investigation.

Bouchar, a competitive distance runner, was taking out the trash when he noticed the police, yelled a warning to the others and fled, the judge said.

When police surrounded the apartment, seven suspects inside blew themselves up with a batch of the same stolen dynamite used to make the backpack bombs that were planted on four commuter trains on March 11, 2004, investigators said. The suicide blast also killed a police special agent.

The train bombings, three days before a general election, also wounded 1,900 people. They were claimed by Islamist militants who called the bombings revenge for Spain sending troops to Iraq and Afghanistan, reminds Reuters.

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