Spain is quickly becoming the most explored country in the world by tourists. Yet, tourists are not the only ones taking notice of this beautiful, although somewhat politically torn country. It seems the growing popularity of Spain with those around the world, has also attracted interest from a certain terrorist organization.
According to Spanish law enforcement authorities and countless news agencies around the world, the arrests of 14 Islamic terrorists on January 19, 2008, foiled an attack planned in the city of Barcelona. Further, police report that a few of these unidentified sleeper cell members had recently traveled to Pakistan to entertain an intensive al Qaida training camp. It is suggested this terrorist plot hoped to rival the 2004 Train Bombings in Barcelona which killed a total of 191 people.
At present, the police are investigating and detaining these suspects according to Spanish law which allows a suspect to be held a maximum of 72 hours without charge. It appears the Spanish police were tipped off by Pakistani officials of the likelihood of an upcoming terror attack in the city of Barcelona, according to a report by El Periodico de Catalunya.
The group had received orders from other terrorists living in Pakistan in the Waziristan region. Of the 14 detainees and members of a terrorist sleeper cell 13 of them were living in Barcelona. It is believed that senior al Qaida leaders sent a points man to activate this terrorist sleeper cell and as a result prompting this group into future action. Clearly, the arrival of the points man in Spain from Pakistan signaled the activation of this group. The points man acts as liaison to al Qaida leaders.
On the optimistic side, in respect to world terrorism, and law enforcement efforts to thwart such acts of destruction, it seems law enforcement officials in Spain and France have equal access to information and thanks to prompt action following notification by Pakistani secret services people of Barcelona Spain are safe. These members of law enforcement are as well connected as members of Al Qaida receiving the information in time to arrest and detain this points man resulting in the prevention of harm by the entire group. Clearly this failure by al Qaida members exemplifies the due diligence being practiced around the world by countries. Law enforcement and all counter terrorism agencies intend to prevent such happenings and acts of terror no matter where in the world the attempt is planned and are working alongside one another as a result. This foiled plot just happened to be Barcelona this time around.