THE Policia Nacional say they have thwarted what could have been the biggest terrorist attack in Spain ‘for years’ with the arrest of a 17-year-old Sevilla area student.
The National Court on Tuesday ordered the teenage boy- suspected of having links to the militant Islamic State group and of planning to attack his school- to be held on remand at a youth detention centre for at least six months.
The student, a Syrian national, was arrested early on Monday in Montellano and has been charged with belonging to a terrorist organisation and possessing explosives.
Jose Luis de Castro, the judge in charge of the court’s section for minors, said in his order that ‘these felonies of enormous gravity’ justified the pre-trial detention’.
There is ‘solid evidence’ that the suspect obtained various substances used for homemade explosives, as well as manuals for their manufacture, the judge said, adding that the suspect had also pledged loyalty to Islamic State on social media.
The teenage suspect had been living with his mother and 10-year-old sister in Montellano for two years, with all of them having refuge status according to the town’s mayor, Curro Gil.
The judge said the youth was ‘highly radicalised, obsessed with all things military, has camouflage clothing and is tremendously homophobic and antisemitic’.
The El Mundo newspaper on Tuesday cited police sources saying they were certain an attack on the suspect’s school was imminent, which prompted his arrest.
While already under police surveillance on Sunday, the suspect went to an empty field where detonations were heard, the judge said, suggesting he was testing explosives.
According to the EFE news agency, several parents decided to keep their children from the school on Monday after the suspect sent a message to some of his classmates via WhatsApp saying: “Tomorrow’s the big day.”