Barcelona terror incident: US counter-terrorism centre had alerted Spanish intelligence of attack

US security agencies warned Spain in May that the Islamic State group was planning an attack in Barcelona, where the jihadists claimed a deadly van rampage earlier in August, local media said on Thursday

AFP August 31, 2017 15:43:02 IST
Barcelona terror incident: US counter-terrorism centre had alerted Spanish intelligence of attack

Madrid: US security agencies warned Spain in May that the Islamic State group was planning an attack in Barcelona, where the jihadists claimed a deadly van rampage earlier in August, local media said on Thursday.

Barcelona terror incident US counterterrorism centre had alerted Spanish intelligence of attack

File image of Injured people being treated in Barcelona. AP

The daily El Periodico de Cataluna reported that the US National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) alerted Spanish intelligence officers to the threat weeks before a man ploughed his vehicle into crowds of tourists along Barcelona's Las Ramblas boulevard on 17 August, killing 14 people.

"Unsubstantiated information of unknown veracity from late May 2017 indicted that the Islamic State of Irak and ash-Sham (IS) was planning to conduct unspecified terrorist attacks during the summer against crowded tourist sites in Barcelona, Spain, specifically (Las Ramblas) street," according to an NCTC briefing note published by the paper.

A spokesman for Spain's CNI intelligence agency, contacted by AFP, refused to "confirm or deny anything on communication with other intelligence services".

The interior ministry did not respond to a request for comment. But the Madrid-based Cadena SER radio station quoted "anti-terror sources" suggesting that the document published by El Periodico de Cataluna was authentic.

Spain is still recovering from the twin August vehicle attacks that left a total of 16 people dead and more than 120 wounded in Barcelona and the seaside resort of Cambrils further south. IS claimed both attacks.

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