This morning, the Catalan national police, Mossos d’Esquadra, carried out a special operation against jihadi terrorists that lead to 12 major raids in the cities of Barcelona, L'Hospitalet de Llobregat, Santa Coloma de Gramenet, Ripollet, Cornellà de Llobregat and Masquefa. As of 11am today, there have been 9 arrests.
Today’s police operation represents the final phase of an investigation that began 8 months ago as a result of separate reports by citizens. The collaboration of these citizens and the prevention work of the Mossos d'Esquadra determined the existence of an organized group associated with jihadi terrorism with other links to organized crime.
The Catalan police reported these initial inquiries to the National High Court, which resulted in the establishment of a joint investigation team with the Belgian authorities under the European Union's Judicial Cooperation Unit EUROJUST.
In recent months, within the framework of EUROJUST, there has been an intense exchange of information between the Belgian police and the Mossos d'Esquadra. After collecting the evidence, the work carried out by two police forces has, as of this morning at 11am, caused the arrest of 9 individuals suspected of either having ties or belonging to jihadist terrorist organizations.
The scope of the investigation promoted the Mossos d’Esquadra’s Anti-terrorist Services to report the case to the Spanish state’s National Intelligence Centre, resulting in the exchange of intelligence between the two bodies.
Those involved in the investigation worked in coordination with the Spanish National Police anti-terrorist services, the police agency designated by the international law enforcement contacts, which, along with the Belgian Federal Police, are also carrying out other counter-terrorist actions in relation with today’s operation.
In his comments to members of the press, the Minister of Home Affairs, Jordi Jané, announced that the arrests made today are “in connection with the terrorist attacks that occurred in Belgium” in March 2016. “This relationship is being investigated”, he explained and highlighted the importance of Catalonia’s cooperation with the Belgian Federal police. According to Jané, the operation, which is still underway, “does not indicate a possible attack in Catalonia” however “we cannot rule this out”, he added.