Al Qaeda has set it’s sites on Spain yet again. I guess with their inability to strike within the US they are going after Europe still. Germany, Britan and Spain seem to the their prime targets… Why? I guess they have integrated themselves into the Muslim neighborhoods so well, they are hard to weed out… A key note is where these guys are from, Pakistan… I think it is time the world brings pressure on the Pakistanian Government to step up their efforts or allow other forces to intervene and hunt down the leaders of the terror organizations that are using Pakistan as a base camp.
Law enforcement officials throughout Europe say they are are urgently hunting for members of an al Qaeda terror cell that was allegedly planning to attack the transit system in Barcelona.
Sources tell ABC News those being sought are believed to be bomb makers and suicide killers who were working with a 14-member operation.
While it is unclear whether the Barcelona attacks were imminent, Spanish authorities say they have no doubt that the threat was serious.
The plot was allegedly developed by senior al Qaeda leaders hiding in Pakistan, with members of the cell making their way into Spain in recent days.
“Here we are looking at something different: a well-organized group who were going beyond ideological radicalism to acquiring materials to make explosives and therefore eventually to carry out violent attacks,” Spanish Interior Minister Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba said at a press conference last week.
The National Intelligence Estimate released last year warned that al Qaeda was training scores of recruits in the tribal regions of Pakistan.
“If this story is true, it means that al Qaeda is alive. It has money. It has people that are trained. It has a network to send people — large numbers of people — out as a team and that it has the capability of striking thousands of miles from its base in Pakistan,” former government counter-intelligence official and ABC News consultant Richard Clarke said of this latest incident.
The pace of plots directed or inspired by al Qaeda has been intensifying in recent months, with Europe as the focus.
Last September in Germany, three Islamic radicals were accused of targeting U.S. military installations there.
Also in September in Denmark, suspected terrorists were charged with planning a bombing campaign.
Then in December, Belgian authorities arrested 14 men who were allegedly plotting to free an al Qaeda prisoner using guns and explosives.
Now U.S. officials say they are desperately searching to see if the Barcelona cell has ties to any operatives in the United States.
U.S. intelligence has been warning for months that Europe is at risk and could be the gateway to an attack here at home.
Three more Jihadist from Spain’s investigation are at large and their target is unknown at this time, I would imagine it is somewhere else in Spain as these groups tend to plan their attacks to be coordinated to maximize the terror factor… Although they may strike elsewhere as their original targets are surely being watched closer at this point…
ABC News has learned that the manhunt that began in Spain for suspected terror cell members has now extended to France and other European Union countries.The attorney general in Spain said today that there are three cell members they are urgently searching for and that the missing members could be suicidal terrorists with a mission to attack somewhere outside of Spain.
Investigative sources tell ABC News the cell members are Spanish residents, including both nationals and foreigners. They are believed to have recently traveled to Spain from Waziristan, Pakistan, an area known as a hotbed for al Qaeda training and Taliban resurgence.
The 14 suspected terrorists arrested last weekend in Spain were in the final stages of preparing a suicide attack using multiple bombs, according to sources close to the investigation being conducted by Spanish Central Intelligence (CNI) and the Guardia Civil Islamic Counterterrorist Unit.
The men were of Pakistani, Indian and other ethnic backgrounds. Many appear to be legal residents of Spain, but some of the suspects’ legal statuses are still unknown. One of the men arrested, Maroof Ahmaed Mirza, is described as an Imam, a legal resident of Spain and a Pakistani national.
The raids capped what was known as Operation Cantata and took place in the Raval neighborhood of Barcelona after authorities established the readiness of the group based on intercepts and informant information, sources told ABCNews.com.
Seven searches were conducted, including searches of two mosques, according to police reports. Investigators seized four timers, described as “mechanical clocks without numbered spheres,” various empty pyrotechnic cartridges, multi-colored wires, latex gloves, kitchen gloves, severe batteries of varying voltages, cables used for detonators and other various materials, according to an inventory of the searches.
Spanish authorities believe the intended target was the Barcelona subway system and that the plot would have used two to four suicide bombers wearing explosive vests that were to be detonated simultaneously while another plotter detonated three to four more devices placed in the subway, investigative sources told ABC News. The Barcelona rapid transit system has 150 stations along nine lines and runs over 71 miles. It serves 1.6 million residents in Spain’s second largest city.
“For this reason, the Barcelona rail system makes a great target for the Islamic radicals coming to Spain,” said a source close to the case. “The (Raval) area of Barcelona has become a great location for the al Qaeda cells for recruitment, financial support and possible targets.”