Islamic terror cells continue to plot terror attacks across Europe – especially against Jewish targets. This time, an attack in Spain was thwarted.
Spanish security forces were successful in thwarting a plot hatched by Islamic jihadists who planned a major attack against a Jewish bookstore in Barcelona.
Authorities arrested 11 people on Wednesday and seized a grenade, knives, shotguns, ammunition and chemicals that could be used for bomb-making during searches in the northeastern Catalonia region, Judge Santiago Pedraz said in a report. The report was released by the investigative judge on Friday after seven of the suspects appeared before him in closed-door court sessions. He sent all seven to prison.
The suspects, mostly from the city of Terrassa – about a 30-minute drive from Barcelona – had formed a group they called “Islamic Brotherhood for Jihad Predication” that was linked ideologically to the Islamic State (ISIS) terror organization, the report said.
One of those ordered jailed allegedly had participated in plans to attack the bookstore with help from a neo-Nazi acquaintance, the report said.
Images of a central Barcelona hotel, a police station and a shopping center were found on his cellphone.
Other potential targets of the group included synagogues and public buildings in the Catalonia region, the report stated.
Three of those arrested were released by Pedraz, and a 17-year-old suspect identified as a Paraguayan living in Spain for eight years was sent to a juvenile detention center. Six of the seven jailed adults were men with Spanish citizenship; the seventh was a Moroccan woman.
Catalonia regional police had been monitoring members of the alleged group for more than a year.
Paraguayan Interior Minister Francisco de Vargas said Friday that authorities were particularly concerned that a youth with Paraguayan roots had been implicated.
There were no indications that he came into contact with any extremist groups in Paraguay when he was younger, Vargas said. However, Paraguayan authorities decided as a precaution to step up patrols in the so-called Triple Border part of Paraguay that borders Argentina and Brazil.
The Triple Border region is known as a smugglers’ haven with a large Arab community. US officials say it is a center for financing terror, a claim denied by the three South American nations.
By: United with Israel Staff and AP