An Algerian linked to the Islamic State who was arrested by Spanish police and is believed to have led a terrorist cell in Barcelona came to Spain as an illegal immigrant.
The Spanish National Police say that the Algerian, known as the “Sheikh”, arrived by boat at the end of last March as an illegal immigrant and then headed to Barcelona where he set up a terrorist cell and plotted to carry out an attack using Kalashnikov rifles.
Police uncovered and foiled the potential terror attack after it was found that a member of the cell was inquiring about purchasing automatic rifles and was in the final stages of doing so, newspaper El Mundo reports.
Spanish police and the European police agency Europol arrested the five cell members on Wednesday, with four arrests in Barcelona and one in the Spanish capital of Madrid.
Searches also found other weapons in the possession of the suspects, including machetes and roughly 70 rounds of ammunition.