Time to demand explanations for the Barcelona Terrorist Attacks
Four months ago Barcelona suffered a terrorist attack but, unfortunately, part of the story remains in the shadows. Let’s start at the beginning.
Abdelbaki Es Satty was a moroccan imam with previous radical activities that was recruited as an informer by the Spanish Intelligence Agency (Centro Nacional de Inteligencia or CNI). That cooperation prevented Es Satty to be expelled by a judge although he had been involved in drug trafficking.
Es Satty was approached by a Spanish neonazi in order to get weapons to attack a Jewish publishing company and kidnap a Jewish manager in a Catalan bank. The plot was dismantled in 2015.
Being Es Satty a clear risk to Jewish communities, the Israeli intelligence service placed him under a special electronic surveillance.
Es Satty recruited a cell of young people without previous radical activities for a new terrorist plot. They got a a house in Alcanar, a southern Catalan village, and started to buy materials to prepare the explosives. The plan seemed to be a strike against the always crowded Sagrada Familia church, a tourist hot spot, with a truck full of explosives.
Meanwhile, Israeli surveillance, unaware that Es Satty was an informant, concluded that his patterns of activity matched to those of an inminent terrorist attack.
Israeli intelligence service issued warnings of the terrorist preparations to both the Spanish Intelligence Agency and the Spanish Homeland Department. American Intelligence was also informed of the threat.
On July 31st, the Exeintel Group, a private intelligence contractor, also shared critical intelligence of the impending attacks with Spain, the US and other European agencies. It was published by the newspaper Publico later on (http://www.publico.es/politica/espionaje-eeuu-contacto-asesino-ramblas-telegram-31-julio.html, http://www.publico.es/politica/incognitas-incongruencias-errores-aviso-espionaje-eeuu-mossos.html).
After Spanish government’s lack of effective response and fearing an upcoming attack, the Israli Intelligence Service sent operatives to Barcelona to protect key buildings of the local Jewish community.
In the night of August 16th, a explosion happened in the Alcanar house where the cell was preparing the explosives and killed Es Satty and other terrorist. The catalan police started the investigation of the site.
Next day, on the August 17th afternoon, the remaining terrorists improvised an attack and struck a popular tourist destination, the Las Ramblas boulevard, with a van. Fifteen people are killed and more than one hundred people wounded. Victims were from 34 nationalities. The catalan police quickly found and shot the terrorists.
That night, a second squad with five of the remaining terrorists attacked the coastal city of Cambrils. A woman was killed and five people were wounded. The catalan police shot them all, preventing further victims.
Islamic State claimed responsibility for both attacks. These has not been verified yet, as it is the usual policy to claim responsibility for any radical islamist attack.
Despite the quick and effective response of the Catalan police, the Spanish press attacked the Mossos d’Esquadra for lack of coordination with the Spanish police. It was also made public that the Spanish Homeland Department had denied the catalan police critical access to international information on terrorism and crime.
One of the largest newspapers in Spain, El Periodico, published an alleged terrorist warning from the CIA to the catalan police. This note was later deemed a forgery as it made some commons spelling and typographical mistakes for a Spanish writing in English.
In November the Spanish Intelligence had to publicly admit that Es Satty had been an informer (https://www.elnacional.cat/es/sociedad/iman-ripoll-cni-prensa-internacional_213696_102.html).
The real question here is: Why did the Spanish Government refuse to act despite several warnings of an impending terrorist attack coming from authoritative sources? Was such inaction motivated by the current political problems between Catalonia and the Spanish Government?
As people from 34 countries have been wounded or lost lives, the public from these countries must press their own governments to demand clear explanations from Spain.
List of Countries with Victims in the Barcelona Attacks: