Spain arrests Pakistani for links to al-Qaida

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MADRID (AP) — Spanish police have arrested a Pakistani man they say is linked to a cell that forged passports for al-Qaida-linked groups.

Police had been looking for the suspect since seven members of the cell were arrested in Spain in December and three more in Thailand, Interior Ministry said Friday in a statement. It named the suspect as 30-year-old Malik Imtanan Sarwar and said he was picked up Thursday in Barcelona.

The statement said he worked with other group members to send stolen passports to Thailand to be doctored and later distributed to groups linked to al-Qaida, mainly Lashkar-e-Taiba, a Pakistan-based terror group blamed for the 2008 Mumbai, India, attacks that killed 166 people.

The ministry said the group also supplied forged documents to Tamil Tiger rebels who were crushed in 2009 by Sri Lankan troops after a quarter-century war for an independent state.

The seven people arrested in December were six Pakistanis and one Nigerian. The ministry said they stole passports, mostly from tourists around Barcelona.

The ministry said the forged passports allowed members of terror groups to enter European and other countries.

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