January 28, 2008 / 9:19 PM / in 10 years

Morocco arrests suspect in 2004 Madrid bombings

<p>A man pays his respects at a memorial site at one of the platforms at Madrid's Atocha station March 11, 2005. A Moroccan suspected of direct involvement in the 2004 Madrid train bombings which killed 191 people was arrested on Sunday in Rabat, a judicial source in Spain familiar with the case said on Monday.Susana Vera</p>

MADRID (Reuters) - A Moroccan suspected of direct involvement in the 2004 Madrid train bombings which killed 191 people was arrested on Sunday in Rabat, a judicial source in Spain familiar with the case said on Monday.

Abdelilah Hriz, 29, will be tried in his home country for his suspected part in Europe's deadliest Islamist attack, the first time Morocco has agreed to try one of its citizens for crimes allegedly committed abroad, said the source.

Spanish Judge Juan Del Olmo recently traveled to Morocco to question Hriz and take DNA samples, the Moroccan state news agency MAP said last month.

Hriz is allegedly linked to the 2004 attacks by DNA found on a comb in the flat in a Madrid suburb where seven suspects blew themselves up when police closed in on them.

His fingerprints were also found in a house near Madrid where the explosives were assembled, the judicial source said.

In October a Spanish court found 21 people guilty of involvement in the bombings on March 11 2004 but cleared three men of masterminding the attack.

Victims were shocked by the sentences, which in many cases were much lower than the state attorney had requested and left the public without any clearer idea of who devised the attack that ripped apart four commuter trains.

Judge Javier Gomez Bermudez sentenced three men -- two Moroccans and a Spaniard who provided the bombers with explosives -- to a total of 42,924 years in prison.

The high nominal sentences for the three men reflected their conviction on multiple counts but the figures are academic as Spanish law says nobody can serve more than 40 years in jail.

Nobody else got more than 23 years and seven defendants were acquitted.

(Additional reporting by Tom Pfeiffer in Rabat)

Reporting by Itziar Reinlein and Sarah Morris; Editing by Jon Boyle

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