July 21, 2019
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Catalan police arrest 17 suspects in operation against alleged terror cell

Barcelona, Jan 15 (efe-epa).- Catalan regional security forces on Tuesday made 17 arrests as part of an operation launched against suspected members of a terror cell that was allegedly planning a series of attacks, police said.

Under the codename "Operation Alexandria," police carried out five raids in Barcelona, mainly in the Ciutat Vella neighborhood, and one in Igualada on the outskirts of Barcelona.

According to the Catalan regional government's interior minister, Miquel Buch, five alleged ring-leaders were in an advanced state of radicalization and had shown the "intention and conviction" to carry out an attack.

Buch added that the group "at no moment" had the capability of being able to launch an attack.

The five alleged ring-leaders were of Algerian nationality, while other suspected members of the group were from Libya, Iraq, Morocco and Egypt, according to police sources.

According to earlier police reports, most of the people arrested had a prior criminal records.

As part of the ongoing operation, police have found digital material which would have to be analyzed.

The operation in the cities of Barcelona and Igualada was carried out on court orders and as a result of a long-running investigation by the Mossos.

Between 2013-2018, the Mossos arrested a total of 30 people during 17 anti-terror operations and investigated a further 81 suspects, according to a statement made last Wednesday during the year's first meeting of the force's anti-terror coordination bureau.

Catalonia was targeted by deadly terror attacks in August 2017 when a van rammed into pedestrians on La Rambla, a popular boulevard in Barcelona, and hours later another vehicle hit pedestrians in the nearby town of Cambrils. Both attacks left a total of 16 people dead and over 150 injured.

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