Saturday, January 19, 2008

Al Qaeda in Catalonia update: This evening the police arrested one more man in the Raval, bringing the total of arrests to 15. The Catalan interior counselor, Mr. Feng Shui himself, Joan Saura, claimed that Catalonia was "not a nest of terrorists." TV3 says that, of all suspected Islamist terrorists arrested in Spain, one-third are arrested in Catalonia.

El Periodico is out ahead of everyone else on this story; they say that the foreign intelligence service that tipped off the Spanish CNI was the French, that the authorities have been surveilling these guys for three years, and that they made the decision to arrest them because an important Pakistani radical was coming to town.

The police found 50 grams of peroxide of acetone, which was the explosive used by the London transport bombers, among other substances that can be used to make explosives. They're investigating whether the radical big fish brought the peroxide of acetone to the Barcelona cell.

These guys apparently have connections in both Great Britain and Portugal. They are also connected to a group of Pakistanis rounded up here in Barcelona in 2004, who were sentenced to up to nine years in prison each for belonging to an Al Qaeda affiliate called Sunni Therik.

El Mundo has a photo gallery, but it's not very exciting.

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