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Monday, July 12, 2004

The Terrorists Among Us

These are intercepts of cell phone conversations from just before the Madrid Bombings.

They influenced one election in a democracy. They are working on ours....

Mr. Ahmed said in an intercepted conversation on May 26, "The Madrid attack was my project, and those who died as martyrs were my dearest friends."

"I was ready to blow myself up, but they stopped me, and we obey God's will," he said. "I had wanted a heavy burden, but I didn't find the means. This plan cost me a lot of study and patience. It took me two and a half years."

In a conversation on June 4 in which Mr. Ahmed was wooing Mr. Ragheh into becoming a suicide bomber, Mr. Ragheh posed for the photograph that was to be distributed after his martyrdom.

"Come a little closer," Mr. Ahmed said. "Stop, move just a little. Like this it will be a marvelous day, with your face illuminated. You have a light around your face. It's not artificial. It's a luminous light that will never leave your body."

Mr. Ahmed told his young charge that he listened to soothing cassette tapes of martyrdom continuously, and told him to do the same.

"They will make everything easier when you feel them enter your body," he said, explaining that a suicide mission "takes five minutes, and then everything blows up."

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