Spanish police probe potential ‘terror links’ in politician’s shooting

Two Spanish men and one British woman are arrested in connection with the shooting of Alejandro Vidal-Quadras.

Police work at the site where Alejo Vidal-Quadras, former head of Spain's People's Party in the Catalonia region, was shot in the face, in Madrid, Spain
Police work at the site where Alejandro Vidal-Quadras, a co-founder of Spain's Vox party, was shot in Madrid, Spain, November 9 [Nacho Doce/Reuters]

Spanish police have arrested three people as part of an anti-terror investigation linked to the shooting of a far-right politician earlier this month.

Police on Tuesday arrested two Spanish men and one British woman in connection with the shooting of Alejandro Vidal-Quadras, a co-founder of Spain’s Vox party. The attack is being investigated as “possible terrorism”, with Iranian opposition groups pointing the finger at Tehran.

Vidal-Quadras was shot in the face in a Madrid street on November 9. The 78-year-old former political leader survived the attack and is recovering in a hospital with a double jaw fracture.

Two suspects were arrested in the southern city of Lanjaron and the third in Fuengirola, the national police’s press department said. None of the arrested individuals is suspected of firing the shot that struck Vidal-Quadras, Spain’s state news agency reported.

Vidal-Quadras, a longtime supporter of Iran’s political opposition in exile, has raised the possibility with police that he was targeted because of these ties, a police source said earlier this month.

The Paris-based Iranian opposition group Committee of the National Council of Resistance of Iran described Vidal-Quadras as a staunch ally and blamed the Iranian government for the shooting.

Police are investigating whether the arrested suspects have links with foreign countries but have not confirmed such a theory.

In January, Iran’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs imposed sanctions on Vidal-Quadras and others with ties to the exiled Iranian opposition group Mujahedeen-e-Khalq, accusing them of “supporting terrorism and terrorist groups”.

The Iranian sanctions included a visa and entry ban and seizure of any property in Iran.

Vidal-Quadras was shot on a sidewalk in the wealthy neighbourhood of Salamanca in central Madrid by a man who was wearing a helmet and rode pillion on a motorcycle.

The hospital where he was admitted said on Tuesday he was making “good progress”.

Vidal-Quadras was a key figure in Spain’s conservative Popular Party and a European Parliament member before he helped found Vox. He has not been active in politics for several years but maintained a public role as a media commentator and columnist.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies