Islamic State terrorist planned to target Barcelona vs Real Madrid with drone carrying explosives
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An alleged ‘lone wolf’ terrorist planned to target a Barcelona-Real Madrid match with a drone carrying explosives, it has been claimed.
The 33-year-old Moroccan confided his twisted idea to police after his arrest, according to a leading Spanish TV station.
Respected Barcelona-based daily El Periodico, which published more details about his sick ‘drone plan’, said he was forced to ditch the project for a more traditional knife attack on innocent members of the public after football matches were banned because of coronavirus.
It also claimed the out-of-work waiter, held on May 8 and currently languishing in prison, told a Syrian-based Islamic State mentor blamed for helping to radicalise him before his arrest: “One of these days I’ll die. I’m going to be a meat mincing machine. I’m not afraid.”
Police sources quoted by the newspaper said they were working on the theory he was planning to use a knife in an “imminent attack” on people queueing for food outside a supermarket or travelling by tube in Barcelona.
Spanish press have named the suspect, said to have lost his job and moved in with a Good Samaritan colleague after the cafe-bar where he worked closed down during the Covid-19 lockdown.
The name, and the drone claims, have not been confirmed by police as is normal in Spain where suspects are never usually named before trial.
Spanish police described him as a “real threat to security” when they announced his arrest and said he had wanted to carry out a terrorist act which could have involved the use of knives or a vehicle as a weapon.
The Civil Guard added in a statement at the time, referring to ISIS by its acronym Daesh: “The arrested man’s radicalisation and affinity for Daesh dates back at least four years.
“During the current state of emergency that process of radicalisation culminated and became highly noticeable and worrying.
“The initial police hypothesis linked this extreme activation of his activity to DAESH calls for lone wolves in western countries to mobilise and carry out attacks in the towns and cities where they lived.
“Since the spread of coronavirus throughout Europe, several terrorist attacks committed by sole individuals have taken place, using knives or vehicles to run over victims.
“The man arrested has been observed regularly breaching the coronavirus confinement established as part of the state of emergency.
“He was seen moving around Barcelona and appearing to search for possible objectives.”
The Barcelona arrest followed the detention of a trio of terror suspects including suspected British terrorist Abdel-Majed Abdel Bary in Almeria, south east Spain, in the early hours of April 20.
Bary, once a key suspect in the hunt for ‘Jihadi John’ who boasted of beheading American journalist James Foley, was in a hideout with two Algerians after sneaking into Spain by boat.
All three men have also been remanded in prison pending an ongoing judicial probe.
There has been speculation Bary was intending to reach Catalonia when Spain’s coronavirus lockdown was over.
Barcelona has a large and well-integrated Muslim community but has been identified in the past as a hotbed for Islamic radicals.
Moroccan Younes Abouyaaqoub, 22, used a rented van to mow down and kill 15 people including British-born Julian Cadman, seven, in Barcelona’s famous Las Ramblas on August 17 2018.