'Profoundly radicalized' Muslim man arrested in Spain after planning to carry out terrorist attacks
The Spanish police, along with the assistance of the FBI, arrested a Moroccan man who was planning out terrorist attacks during the COVID-19 lockdown.
According to Fox News, the suspect -- who hasn't been identified to the general public -- was arrested in an early morning raid on Friday in Barcelona, a tropical metropolitan in Spain. The Spanish Civil Guard would also let it be known that the man is a "profoundly radicalized" follower of the Islamic State and had been scouting out targets to attack in Barcelona.
One media outlet in Spain is reporting that the suspect could have potentially held out attacks as soon as this weekend. According to authorities, the Moroccan has been linked to ISIS for a number of years now, but was able to maintain a low profile until there was a "striking and worrying" change in his behavior, which has been consistently happening within the timeline of the nation's lockdown since its beginning in March.
Spanish authorities, the FBI and Moroccan General Directorate of Homeland Security all contributed to the arrest.
Described as a "lone wolf," investigators were fearing that the suspect was planning out an attack on Barcelona because of ISIS calling for terrorism against Western European countries, and in order to do so, he had been disregarding Spain's strict COVID-19 lockdown rules.
“The arrested man had used social media to proclaim his loyalty to ISIS and his hatred for the west,” said a statement from the Spanish Civil Guard. “Surveillance officers noticed that he had begun to disregard the lockdown rules set out in the state of emergency on a regular basis, that he was taking important security measures as he ventured around Barcelona, suggesting he was carrying out a possible search for targets.”
Terrorist attacks are nothing new to Barcelona, with the city being a victim of terrorism in August 2017 when a jihadist would slam his van into a crowd of pedestrians on the street. Altogether, the attack would kill 12 people, with more than 100 more injured. ISIS would claim responsibility for the attack.
The arrest in Spain would come just a month after Danish authorities arrested a man for also planning out lone wolf terrorism, and doing so with a "militant Islamic motive." Also in April, four citizens of Tajik were arrested in Germany for being connected to an operational ISIS cell.