Imprisoned Islamic State suspect plotted terrorist attack on El Clasico football match in Barcelona
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A suspected IS-affiliated ‘lone wolf’ terrorist arrested in Barcelona last week is now believed to have been plotting an attack on the ‘Clasico’ football match between Barcelona and Real Madrid.
Spanish media, citing unnamed sources in the antiterrorism police, allege that the Moroccan national arrested on Friday, May 8, was planning to slaughter soccer fans at the Camp Nou stadium until his plans were foiled by the coronavirus pandemic and ensuing nationwide lockdown.
Judge Jose Luis Calaman ordered that the suspect be imprisoned awaiting trial on charges of promoting IS (Islamic State, formerly ISIS) and inciting terrorism. He was arrested by the Spanish intelligence services, the SIGC, with the assistance of Morocco’s General Directorate of Territorial Surveillance (DGST) and the FBI.
According to a report in La Sexta, the suspect intended to use a drone to carry out an attack on the Camp Nou, though authorities have yet to find any evidence of a drone. They are now investigating whether the man was attempting to procure explosives or whether he intended to carry out a mass stabbing or possible vehicle attack.
As with the vast majority of sporting seasons across the globe, the top-tier Spanish league was postponed due to the coronavirus, preventing the suspect from carrying out any such attack.
The man was reportedly obsessed with extreme videos produced and shared by followers of the Islamic State. He is believed to have pledged loyalty to the group’s new leader, Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurashi, having undergone online radicalization over the past four years and maintaining contact with a compatriot fighting for the terrorist group in Syria.
The suspect apparently made several proclamations on social media showing support for IS and his hatred of the West, and he was found in breach of the nationwide lockdown by police, having been monitored for several months due to his online activity.
Despite the coronavirus lockdown around the world, several attacks have taken place during the pandemic in Europe, most notably in France, but lockdown and increased vigilance by authorities prevented any major incidents.