This morning the Mossos d’Esquadra, Catalonia’s police force, led a counter-terrorist operation against a religious jihadist terrorist cell functioning at several points in Catalonia. The operation was initially launched in December when 3 youths were intercepted and arrested in Bulgaria after they attempted to travel to Syria to fight alongside the Islamic State. The operation culminated today with the successful detention of various suspects under the command of the police’s specialist teams, authorised by the National High Court (Audiencia Nacional).
The counter-terrorist unit involved some 360 agents from Catalonia’s police force and included raids and detentions in the Barcelona and Tarragona areas. Those arrested are suspected of crimes linked to jihadist terrorism and origniated from Spain, Paraguay and Morocco. According to Catalonia’s Home Affairs Minister, Ramon Espadaler, at present there have been 11 detentions of suspected members of religious jihadist cells associated with the ISIS Islamic extremist rebel group.
During this morning’s press conference, Minister Espadaler, explained that the mentioned cell recruited and radicalized youths and would “send them to fight in Iraq and Syria and was constituted to attack Catalonia”. Furthermore, the Minister asserted that the cell had been controlled throughout the entire operation and that “at no moment was there a risk to the general population”.
Finally, according to the Catalan Minister, the operation, which is one of the largest counter-terrorist operations that has taken place in Catalonia to date, is the result of efforts made “throughout the year and represents an important turning point” in the Government’s fight against terrorism.