A SUSPECTED ‘lone wolf’ terrorist had been plotting to bomb a Barcelona versus Real Madrid match using a drone.
This is the claim of Spanish police, who say his plans were scuppered by the coronavirus lockdown.
Instead he started wandering the streets of Barcelona, reporting back to his ‘controller’ in Syria.
The shadowy ISIS figure urged the Moroccan-born 34-year-old waiter to use a knife in a suicide attack. He said this was the arrested man’s only path to ‘redemption’ after he had dabbled in alcohol and drugs.
According to Spanish newspaper El Periodico, police believed the would-be- terrorist was trying to find a target such as a supermarket queue, forcing them to move in and made an arrest.
The man, whose name remains undisclosed, arrived in Spain illegally 12 years ago, police say. He was first contacted by ISIS terrorists in 2015, but the process of radicalisation they put him through only reached the final stage this year.
Police kept tabs on him and his communications over the past few years before finally arresting him on May 8.
A police source told El Periodico: “He wandered through the streets of Barcelona aimlessly, almost always in the area of El Raval. We saw that he was always recording himself with his mobile phone.
“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 plan suggested by his handler to attack the football match with a drone packed with explosives was suspended with the lockdown, so a new target was sought.
Shortly before his arrest he reportedly told his controller: “One of these days I’ll die. I’m going to be a meat mincing machine. I’m not afraid.”
Police took this to mean he was planning a knife attack on unsuspecting shoppers.
They raided the apartment he shared with a former colleague, where they found the suspect hiding under a child’s bed.
He remains in custody,