THREE ‘highly radicalised’ teenagers have been arrested in Madrid and Barcelona over plans to make a massive bomb.
The suspects, aged between 14 and 18 years, were found to be in the process of creating the terrifying ‘Mother of Satan,’ infamously used in the 2017 Las Ramblas attack in Barcelona.
Known scientifically as triacetone triperoxide (TATP), it is the type of explosive favoured by the Islamic State (ISIS) due to its devastating effects.
The youngest of the three, a 15-year-old, was apprehended in Mostoles, in Madrid.
Another suspect, 16, was arrested in a shelter in Madrid’s Usera neighbourhood, and the third suspect, also 16, was found in Barcelona.
Investigators tracked the youths through online channels on the Discord platform.
They were particularly in servers named ‘Organización Islámica Hispana’ and ‘Islam server,’ known for hosting jihadist terrorist propaganda and violent content aimed at indoctrination and recruitment.
The three minors had praised the actions of terrorist groups, laid out and justified their violent plans, and even identified potential targets, expressing intentions to attack those opposed to their views.
Their arrests came during the early hours of Monday morning, where police also carried out searches, seizing a large number of electronic devices and documents currently under analysis.
The teens have since been presented to the Juvenile Section of the National Court’s Prosecutor’s Office, and the judge has ordered their detention in a closed-regimen juvenile centre.
These arrests come amidst a surge in detentions of suspected jihadists in Spain, especially following Hamas’s call in October for a ‘global jihad.’
The Interior Ministry deported 14 ‘radicalised’ Pakistani citizens accused of promoting the most extreme interpretation of the Islamic religion last week.
The government expulsions were carried out in accordance with article 54.1a of the Aliens Law, for participation in activities contrary to national security.
It is a law in which foreigners that police suspect as being dangerous, but lack the evidence for a conviction for terrorism to be secured in court, can be deported instead.
All of the expelled Pakistanis were arrested on November 6 as part of the second phase of the so-called ‘Sakina’ operation run by the Policia Nacional.
Addresses were raided in Barcelona, Valencia, La Rioja, San Sebastian, Malaga, Lerida, Palma de Mallorca, Vitoria and Jaen.
An Interior Ministry statement on Monday said: “This radical group reveals a new type of serious threat to public security posed by individuals, not linked to jihadist groups such as Daesh or Al Qaeda, but with a very intransigent and rigorous interpretation of religion.”