• Spain's news in English

Assad warns that Spain attack was 'tip of iceberg'

Jessica Jones · 17 Apr 2015, 10:26

Published: 17 Apr 2015 10:26 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

"As long as the backyard of Europe, especially the Mediterranean and Northern Africa, is in chaos and full of terrorists, Europe cannot be safe," al-Assad told Swedish newspaper Expressen.

The Syrian leader spoke widely on Syria, the threat of Isis and the recent spate of terror attacks in Europe.

"Everything that happened in Europe, and I mean terrorist attacks, we warned from the very beginning of the crisis," he said.

"We’ve had experience with those kind of terrorists for 50 years now. They don’t listen, so what happened was warned of before, and what we saw in France, in Charlie Hebdo, the suicide attempts in Copenhagen, in London, in Spain ten years ago, this is only the tip of the iceberg; terrorism is a huge mountain," he added.

Assad was refering to the March 11th attacks in 2004 in which an al-Qaeda inspired cell simultaneously bombed four rush-hour commuter trains killing 191 people and injuring almost two thousand.  

Al-Assad said that terrorism is not just a problem for the Middle East, but one the whole world needs to be tackling.

"Terrorism is not a domestic issue, it’s not even regional, it’s global," the president said.

He also took a swipe at the close ties between the West and Saudi Arabia:

"As long as many European officials are still adulating countries like Saudi Arabia and Qatar just for their money and selling their values and allowing the Wahhabi (a branch of ultraconservative Sunni Islam) dark ideology to infiltrate and be instilled in some communities in Europe, we have to expect more attacks in that regard."

Spain recently held an informal ministerial meeting on the issue of terrorism and immigration in Europe and around the Mediterranean, during which Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy emphasized that "the Islamic world is also a victim of terrorism".

Story continues below…

According to the EU, more than 6,000 people have left Europe to join jihadist Isis fighters in Syria.

Spanish police recently arrested 11 people in Catalonia who were planning an attack in the region, the latest in a number of anti-terror raids across the country.

In February 2015, Spain’s two main political parties signed a pact to fight Islamic extremism with new anti-jihadist laws in the wake of January’s attacks on the satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo, in Paris. 

For more news from Spain, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Jessica Jones (jessica.jones@thelocal.com)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Recipe: How to make fabada - traditional Asturian bean stew
Photo: Flavio Lorenzo Sánchez/Flickr

The hearty Asturian dish is a perfect lunch on a cold day... and don't forget the crusty bread and cider!

Brit 'paedo' held on Costa del Sol after Most Wanted appeal

One of Britain's most wanted fugitives was arrested on the Costa Del Sol following a tip-off from an expat just hours after his face appeared on a public appeal.

Spain's parliament approves deficit reduction measures
Photo: Images Money/Flickr

Spanish lawmakers approved on Thursday measures to reduce the public deficit and keep it under the target agreed with the European Union.

'Cubism and War' show opens at Barcelona Picasso Museum
Pablo Picasso Harlequin and Woman with a Necklace. Photo: MP

Barcelona's Picasso Museum unveiled an exhibition on "Cubism and War" on Thursday depicting how one of the most influential artistic styles of the 20th century survived the First World War.

Why this bionic limb pioneer doesn't believe in disability
Hugh Herr has been award Spain's top science prize. Photo: FPA

The Local speaks to Hugh Herr on winning Spain's top science prize and how being an amputee doesn't make him disabled.

Dine in the buff at Spain's first nudist restaurant
A buffet of organic food will be served on "human tables". Photo: Innato / Facebook

Spain's first naked dining experience is to arrive on the island of Tenerife following the success of a similar venture in London.

Spain's top court overturns bullfighting ban in Catalonia
Photo: AFP

Spain's Constitutional Court on Thursday cancelled a bullfighting ban in Catalonia in what is likely to exacerbate tensions between Madrid and the separatist region, and between animal activists and fans of the tradition.

Out of the dark: Five years on from Eta ceasefire
Eta members made a ceasefire declaration in January, 2011. Photo: Gara / AFP

Five years after armed separatist group Eta declared a permanent ceasefire, Basque journalist Alberto Letona is still wondering when the dialogue will begin.

Hunt for ten most wanted Brit fugitives hiding out in Spain
Call Crimestoppers if you recognize these faces.

These fugitives from British justice are thought to be hiding out in Spain. Do you recognize anyone?

Eta 'not dead' but Spain focus moves onto jihadism
Archive photo of a pro-mural in the Basque Country. Photo: AFP

Five years after Eta quit violence, the Basque separatist group has yet to dissolve but it poses little threat and authorities have shifted their focus to fight jihadists, says Spain's chief anti-terrorism prosecutor.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Celebrate expat life at Madrid’s THRIVE convention
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Disney announces plans for Don Quixote action movie
Activist tells 8-yr-old matador wannabe with cancer 'just die'
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
King to make last minute push to avoid third vote in Spain
Amazing photos of Catalonia's 'human tower' contest
What's on in Spain: October 2016
'No way, Jose! You'll never get your hands on our Rock'
Recipe: How to make a classic Spanish tortilla de patatas
Chorizo in paella? Go back to cooking school Jamie Oliver
Spain in eye of a perfect storm after 10 months without govt
Thousands share clips of life for 'Spain in a Day' film
Ten incredible Spain locations for Game of Thrones season 7
Analysis & Opinion
Why moving to Spain could be the best decision of your life
Seven reasons why autumn is the very best season in Spain
Spanish study finds four types of personality. Which are you?
New search underway for civil war grave of poet Lorca
Bison found decapitated on Valencia nature reserve
Forgotten Voices: What Brits in Spain think about Brexit
One dead and 14 injured in blast at Spanish resort
Game of Thrones want extras 'with muscles' to film in Spain
Thousands march in Madrid to push for bullfighting ban
Spanish team invents hands-free 'penis bidet'
In pics: Devastation caused by Costa Blanca wildfires
jobs available