Spanish police have arrested a Moroccan jihadist who had planned to use unmanned aerial drone to bomb the El Clásico football match in Barcelona.
The 34-year-old “lone wolf” terrorist had originally planned to target a Barcelona-Real Madrid match at the Camp Nou with a drone carrying explosives. However, because the football game had been cancelled due to coronavirus restrictions, the Moroccan was forced to scrap his grand plans and settle for a more traditional knife attack on bystanders instead, El Periodico reports.
The suspect, whose name has not been released by authorities, has lived in Spain for twelve years. According to the authorities, he had first got into touch with ISIS sometime in 2015. However, it wasn’t until COVID-19 had caused him to lose his job as a waiter on Barcelona’s seafront that he took the final step and swore allegiance to the terrorist organization.
On May 8th, the Spanish Civil Guard arrested the Moroccan man following increased communications between him and his ISIS mentor, and after his movements throughout the city had become increasingly suspicious
A source close to the case, citing information from the Civil Guard, told reporters from El Periodico that: “[the suspect]broke the confinement on a regular basis, he wandered through the streets of Barcelona, apparently aimlessly, almost always in the area of El Raval. We saw that he was recording himself with his mobile phone while making these tours.”
“He was in direct contact with foreign terrorists, the FTF (Foreign Terrorist Fighters). They were guiding him along the way and the things he had or could do within the individual jihad to redeem himself,” the source noted.
Prior to his arrest, the Moroccan jihadist is reported to have said to his ISIS handler: “One of these days I’ll die. I’m going to be a meat mincing machine. I’m not afraid.” After hearing this, authorities were left with little doubt regarding the Moroccan’s intention to commit violence.
The news comes about a week after another radicalized Moroccan migrant was arrested by the Civil Guard in Barcelona, as previously reported by Voice of Europe. Officials from the Civil Guard said the Moroccan migrant was radicalized and activated in a “highly striking and worrying way”.
Weeks before that, the Civil Guard arrested a West African ISIS supporter who threatened King Felipe VI with physical harm on social media.