Islamist terror cell was poised to attack, says judge

6th June 2008, Comments 0 comments

Eleven Islamist terrorists are accused of plotting suicide bombings in Barcelona in January 2008.

6 June 2008

MADRID - A High Court judge on Thursday indicted 11 suspected Islamist terrorists accused of plotting suicide bombings against the Barcelona subway system in January 2008.

The nine Pakistani and two Indian nationals face charges of belonging to a terrorist group and possession of explosives after police raided an unauthorised prayer hall in the city on 19 January following a tip-off from an informant.

Ten of the indicted suspects are among 14 people arrested in the raids - the other four were freed without charge - while one of them is currently subject to an international arrest warrant.

Investigators found a small quantity of nitrocellulose, a highly flammable compound inside the mosque in Barcelona's Raval district, as well as an array of electrical and mechanical devices, leading Judge Ismael Moreno to conclude that the group were engaged in bomb-making in preparation for attacks that were to have been carried out the same weekend the raid took place.

The equipment they had, Moreno admits, was not sufficient to "guarantee damage" would be caused in an attack. However, he argues that the group was "very close to achieving full technical capacity".

He describes Maroof Ahmed Mirza and Mohammad Ayud Elahi Bibi as the ideological and operational leaders of the group, white citing Ahmed Mirza as its religious leader.

Four of the other suspects, including the one still at large, are described as the would-be suicide bombers, all of whom had arrived in Spain from Pakistan in December and early January.

All the members of the cell, Moreno notes, practiced a "strict version" of Islam known as Tablish that, he says, justifies the "indiscriminate" use of violence.

[El Pais / Expatica]

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