Spain: Model plane video evidence of terror plot
Published: August 11, 2012 06:06PM
Updated: August 11, 2012 06:06PM
Police reverse the car carrying one of the two Russian Islamist terror suspects (out of view) to the National Court, as confirmed by court officials in Madrid, Spain, Sunday, Aug. 5, 2012. Spanish police arrested three suspected members of al-Qaida who they believe were planning to carry out attacks in Spain and possibly other European countries, Interior Minister Jorge Fernandez Diaz said Thursday. He said the three men were detained Wednesday. Two of the detainees were from countries of the former Soviet Union and were arrested in the central town of Ciudad Real. The third, a Turk, was detained in the southern town of La Linea. (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)

Madrid • Authorities in Spain released a video Saturday that they claim shows suspected al-Qaida members training for a bombing raid using a model plane, the latest development in a case that has led to three arrests.

Spanish officials allege the suspects were planning a terrorist attack in Spain or elsewhere in Europe, but say investigators managed to intercept them before they could carry out their plot.

The undated video clip — grainy and of low quality — shows a colorful model propeller plane noisily taking off. Once airborne, it drops a small object that falls to the ground and a man then runs toward where the object landed. The identity of the man is not clear from the clip.

Two of the arrested suspects are Russians of Chechen descent — Eldar Magomedov and Mohamed Ankari Adamov. They were jailed Sunday on provisional charges of belonging to a terrorist organization.

The third man, a Turk named Cengiz Yalcin, was also jailed on provisional charges of possession of explosives and a device likely to be used in a terror attack.

Spain’s Interior Ministry also released photographs of an underground space uncovered by police at Yalcin’s home in the southwestern city of La Linea where investigators discovered around 150 grams (5.3 ounces) of an allegedly explosive substance.

Judge Pablo Ruz of the National Court, who jailed the three suspects, described Yalcin as an engineer who had worked in Gibraltar for years and had been involved in providing paragliding lessons for the Russians.

Ruz also said in a court statement that evidence from the U.S. Justice Department suggested Magomedov was involved in terrorist activity in 2010 in Afghanistan and Waziristan, a lawless tribal territory in Pakistan known as a militant hotspot.

It was not clear Saturday if the three suspects had yet been able to appoint defense attorneys.

The ministry has declined comment on whether investigators believe Magomedov and Adamov were practicing paragliding in the hope of unleashing some form of aerial attack.

While a paragliding device designed for a pilot and a passenger might be able to take off with as much as 80 kilograms (176 pounds) of explosives, a model aircraft’s payload would clearly be much smaller.