Police in Barcelona arrested 14 men and raided several apartments, two mosques and a bakery over the weekend. Authorities said the group included 12 Pakistanis, an Indian and a Bangladeshi, and that bomb-making materials were confiscated. Spain’s Interior Minister Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba said Saturday that the detainees “belonged to a well-organized group that had gone a step beyond radicalization.” He said Spanish authorities cooperated with foreign intelligence agencies in the raids, while local newspaper accounts said Madrid had been tipped off about militants leaving Pakistan to initiate a terror plot in Barcelona.
Muslim representatives in Barcelona’s Raval district said that police raided the Torek Ben Ziad mosque, one of the city’s most prominent, at around 3 AM, as well as a nearby Muslim prayer house. Those arrested reportedly include one of the imams of the Torek Ben Ziad mosque and a 70-year-old man. Since the 3-11 attacks, Spanish police have been frequently rounding up suspects for interrogation, who are generally released without charge after a few days. One “prominent Muslim representative in Barcelona,” who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said Sunday that several of those arrested belonged to the Pakistan-based revivalist group Tabligh Jamaat. (NYT, Jan. 21)