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FBI told of plans to attack Grand Central Station in New York

Plans to hit the New York landmark were found in an apartment used by suspects in last year's Madrid train station bombing, which killed 200 people.

March 2, 2005

Original Article (Spanish)    

MADRID: High Court prosecutors have informed the FBI and CIA that perpetrators of the March 11 [terrorist attack in Madrid] had in their possession plans to attack Grand Central Station in New York, sources have told El Mundo.

[Ten bombs, hidden in knapsacks and carry-on bags, exploded on four commuter trains killing 200 people last March 11, in an attack by a group acting "in the name of al-Qaeda" in response to the sending troops of troops to Iraq and Afghanistan by Spain.]

The information was discovered at the home of Mouhannad Almallah on Quimicos Street in the Madrilenian district of San Blas in an operation last March 24, 25 and 26. Mouhannad Almallah is presumed linked to the 3/11 attacks through his brother, Moutaz Almallah, considered a key Al-Qaeda figure.

Mouhannad Almallah, of Syrian origin and 41-years-old, was released on bail after a hearing with Federal Court Judge Olmo, who oversees the 3/11 investigation, but remains under suspicion of belonging to or collaborating with the 3/11 cell.

Almallah was interrogated about his ties to Basel Ghalyoun and Fouad El Morabit, who were detained in the same operation.

Almallah also knew Serhane Ben Abdelmajid, alias "The Tunisian," another key figure in the attacks of almost a year ago, who was killed in a police operation.

Hand-made drawings of Grand Central Station in New York were found on a computer disk seized from Mouhannad Almallah's residence, accompanied by other very specialized engineering data, the importance of which was not understood until December.

After technical consultations, the office of the public prosecutor decided to alert American authorities about the data at the end of January. U.S. national security and transportation officials showed great interest.

Hardly a month before 3/11, the FBI published a report making reference to al-Qaeda plans to carry out attacks on railway lines in the U.S., in order to cause "substantial loss of life."

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