Nearly 300 suspected Islamic militants have been arrested in Spain since March 11, 2004, after bombs ripped through four Madrid train stations, killing 191 people and injuring nearly 2,000. Roughly 80% of the militants are from the Maghreb, according to a study by Madrid’s Elcano Royal Institute. In February, Ayman al-Zawahri, the No. 2 leader in al-Qaeda, called on
Islamic radicals in the Maghreb to “raise the flag of jihad” over North Africa and Spain “to once again feel the soil of al-Andalus beneath your feet.” “Al-Andalus” refers to that part of Spain controlled by Islamic forces for seven centuries until their expulsion in 1492.