(National Sentinel) Terrorism: The CIA sent the Barcelona police a warning in June that terrorists could strike in their city, two months before yesterday’s vehicle-borne attack killed and wounded more than 100 people.
As Britain’s Telegraph reported, “the warning followed a series of high-profile vehicle attacks in London, Stockholm, Berlin, and Nice and came amid a mounting concern amongst Spanish and foreign intelligence agencies that the Catalan capital could be next on the jihadist hit list.”
The paper noted further:
The CIA told Los Mossos, the Catalonian regional police force, that Barcelona was a top target for jihadist terrorists as recently as June this year, El Peridoco, a local paper, reported on Friday.
“Two months ago the Central Intelligence Agency passed a notice to the Catalan autonomous police,” the paper said. “It even warned of the risk to Las Ramblas,” the pedestrian thoroughfare hit by an attack on Thursday.
Spanish and other Western intelligence services have long seen Catalonia as being at risk of a terrorist attack:
In 2007 the US Embassy in Madrid proposed setting up an intelligence hub in Barcelona to counter a “major Mediterranean centre of radical Islamist activity.”
Eduardo Aguirre, the-then US ambassador in Madrid, said in a cable published by Wikileaks in 2010 that heavy immigration from North Africa and Asia had made the region “a magnet for terrorist recruiters” but that Spanish authorities had little capability to penetrate potential terror cells there.
In October last year Catalan police stepped up security at the Sagrada Familia, the iconic unfinished cathedral designed by Antoni Gaudi, after an Isil-linked publication included it in an image of four key terror targets around the world.
The others the Colosseum in Rome, the Statue of Liberty in New York, and Big Ben in Westminster, where five people were killed and 49 injured in a vehicle attack in March.
ISIS seems to have settled on the use of vehicles to carry out terrorist attacks, which makes sense given the fact that automobiles are ubiquitous in Western societies, far easier to obtain and less risky than smuggling in weapons and explosives.
The attack also provides further evidence of Europe’s “jihadist” problem, and will likely spur more calls from nationalist political parties to curb immigration and refugee resettlement from the Middle East.
Despite the CIA’s warning, which again came two months ago, it’s hard to imagine what Spanish authorities could have done to prevent yesterday’s attack — short of banning automobiles.
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