Four people have been arrested in Spain in connection with alleged terror offences after one obtained a dark web manual on how to make the Mother of Satan explosive, a weapon previously used in ISIS terror attacks.
The alleged Islamic radicals were detained earlier than planned by detectives after the manual was downloaded on how to manufacture the explosive, which was previously found to be possessed by terrorists behind the 2017 Barcelona terror attack which killed 16 people.
The arrests took place in Madrid, Cubelles near Barcelona and the town of Huetor-Tajar near the southern Spanish city of Granada overnight.
Video footage shows the moment police raided several properties across Spain this week, detaining the four individuals, who were all taken into police cars with their faces covered.
Officers could be seen removing large boxes of evidence from the homes of the suspects, including one which appeared to contain a large samurai-style sword.
The arrests took place in Madrid, Cubelles near Barcelona and the town of Huetor-Tajar near the southern Spanish city of Granada
Spanish Police officers raided three properties and made four arrests in the probe
Local reports said the unnamed man arrested in Cubelles had taken the first steps to try to make TATP, a peroxide-based explosive known as Mother of Satan, also found in the ruins of the bomb factory used by the terror cells responsible for the August 17 attacks in Barcelona and nearby Cambrils.
The attacks, which saw a van mow down dozens of people before others were stabbed, injured more than 100 people.
It was reported at the time that those behind the attack had 100kg of TATP in storage, enough to carry out Europe’s biggest ever terror attack.
The same Mother of Satan explosive was also used by suicide bombers during the London 7/7 bombings in 2005.
There is no information at this stage pointing to the Spanish detainees, three men and a woman, managing to obtain the bomb-making ingredients or work out targets.
Police said they had all been arrested on suspicion of crimes including the glorification of terrorism.
Local media reported that two of those arrested were Spanish nationals who had recently converted to Islam. Three of those detained are in their twenties, while the fourth is aged 31.
It is understood there is no evidence the four were actively planning a terror attack and the arrests were a preventative measure after radicalisation of the group ratcheted up in recent weeks.
It comes after Spain raised its terror alert level to four amid the conflict between Israel and terror-group Hamas in Gaza.
Armed police were seen removing large boxes and cases of evidence from the properties
Three of the four suspects were remanded in prison after appearing before a judge at a court in Madrid yesterday
The arrests were made sooner than planned after one of those detained allegedly downloaded a manual from the dark web on how to make explosives
A spokesman for Spain’s National Police said: ‘National Police officers have arrested four people in Huetor-Tajar in the province of Granada, Cubelles in the province of Barcelona and Madrid.
‘They were held on suspicion of the crimes of self-indoctrination for terrorist purposes, indoctrination of third parties with the same objective and glorification of terrorism.
‘Investigators saw how these people, linked thorough closed social media groups, had suffered a process of radicalisation.’
The force added: ‘The operation began in 2022 when experts in the fight against terrorism detected the so-called ‘Khalifa’, a creator and administrator of several groups in which he was trying to indocrinate youngsters into believing Jihadist ideology.
‘He created private groups in which he invited the most radical followers with whom he gained more confidence and began to talk openly about terrorism.
‘The surveillance of these groups permitted the identification of other members, all young people, who were interconnected but hadn’t met up with each other.
‘Two of them became close and ended up marrying with the authorisation of the group leader and began to live together.
The 2017 terror attack in Barcelona killed 16 people and injured more than 100 more
‘This new relationship led to the couple increasing their level of radicalisation, recording videos in which they called for the spilling of blood to recover the Muslim-ruled area of the Iberian Peninsula called Al-Andalus and restore the Caliphate.’
Three of the four suspects were remanded in prison after appearing before a judge at a court in Madrid yesterday.
The fourth was released on bail pending an ongoing investigation.
The operation was carried out jointly between the General Intelligence Committee and the Provincial Intelligence Brigades of Granada, Barcelona and Madrid, with the support of Europol.
The three people remanded in custody are understood to be the couple held at their home in Huetor-Tajar and the man held near Barcelona who allegedly had the ‘Mother of Satan’ bomb-making instructions.
The explosive has been regularly used by ISIS in its terror attacks, including a massacre in 2016 in Brussels, which led to the deaths of 32 people.