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Spain’s secret service orchestrated 2017 terror attacks, says former police commissioner

28th Jan 2022

Hamed Chapman

Terrorist attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils in 2017 were orchestrated by the Spanish intelligence service, the CNI (Centro Nacional de Inteligencia), to discredit Catalonian politicians ahead of an independence referendum, according to a former high-ranking police official.

Former police commissioner José Manuel Villarejo told a Spanish High Court judge on January 13 that he believed that the aim of the attacks, which left 16 dead and were blamed on ISIS, was to destabilise Catalonia before the poll but “were a serious mistake”.

On August 17, 2017, a man ploughed a van into pedestrians walking along Barcelona’s La Rambla. Five other men carried out similar attacks 62 miles away in the coastal town of Cambrils, resulting in all the attackers being eventually killed by the police.

Villarejo is facing trial for a slew of charges including bribery, extortion, forgery, all involving Spanish politicians, police officers, business and media figures.

He said that the former CNI head Féliz Sanz Roldán “wanted to give Catalonia a fright” ahead of the October 1, 2017 referendum, but “miscalculated the consequences,” the Catalanews agency reported.

After Villarejo’s comments, Catalan President, Père Aragonès, was said to have demanded that the national government in Madrid look again into links between the intelligence services and Abdelbaki Es Satty, Ripoll’s imam and the alleged mastermind of the attacks.

Former Catalan President Carles Puigdemont was quoted saying in 2017 that Spain should be accountable for the attacks “for its rejection to investigate” the alleged links between Satty and Villarejo.

Satty, who has been implicated in other previous terrorist and criminal activities, was confirmed to have died in what was described as an accidental explosion in Alcanar on August 16, 2017.

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