By Humphrey Carter

MEMBERS of the Moroccan and Algerian secret services are currently in Palma for a top level security meeting with Spanish National Intelligence Centre chiefs.

The meeting was confirmed yesterday by counter-terrorism sources. It was also confirmed that the top secret gathering, which started at the beginning of the week, is also being attended by secret agents from a number of other Mediterranean countries such as France, Egypt, Italy, Greece and Turkey.

However, the location, believed to be a top Palma hotel which has literally been taken over by the security services, has been kept a closely guarded secret. The main aim of the conference, which is being held under maximum secrecy, is to discuss the latest developments in the fight against terrorism, analyse the level of efficiency achieved by the cooperating secret services, the latest threats and how the methods being used in war on terror can be improved.

Top of the agenda is the radical Islamic terror threat and the locating, and subsequent dismantling, of terror cells which are currently lying dormant in Europe and North Africa. The meeting has come at a poignant time.

The Madrid bombers were sentenced last week and the King and Queen of Spain yesterday ended a highly controversial visit to Spain's North African enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla prompting Morocco, in protest, to temporarily break off diplomatic ties with Spain.

Only last week was it revealed that, in the wake of the Madrid bombing sentencing, the National Police were monitoring activities at Palma's numerous mosques more closely and keeping an eye out for any suspicious or unusual behavior. The top level security meeting in Palma was not, however, attended by the director general of the National Police and the Guardia Civil, the Majorcan Joan Mesquida. He is currently in the United States for a series of meetings with members of the Home Security department and heads of the CIA, FBI, the DEA as well as customs and border control officials.


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