Despite his youth, ‘Sheikh’, also known as ‘El Sheque’, knew perfectly what he had to do to get to Spain from Algeria. In 2020, he had already facilitated the entry into Europe by sea of at least two other jihadists who turned to him to get on a boat and reach the coast. Soon he would follow the same path.
Those, once on national soil, went to Barcelona, and there they planned to attack with rifles emulating other bloody attacks that occurred years ago. They were arrested in January of this year. Two months later, in March, ‘The Sheik’, less than 30 years old, Algerian nationality, he embarked on one of those precarious boats across the Mediterranean until he crossed the land border, undertaking the same path to Barcelona.
There he settled in the Barceloneta neighborhood. He surrounded himself with other young people of the same origin as him, whom he soon indoctrinated. He convinced them, thanks to word and propaganda, that they should immolate themselves and carry out attacks in the name of the jihad.
As reported by legal sources of the National audience to EL ESPAÑOL, the leader of the dangerous jihadist cell dismantled this week between Barcelona and Madrid by the National Police arrived in Spain in that kind of boat crossing the sea. Since Algiers he had been coordinating a series of security measures of other newcomers in order to they were not detected by the Security Forces and Bodies. So he knew how to do it.
Those early arrests led the agents of the General Information Commission (CGI), the main specialists in the fight against jihadist terrorism, to pull the thread until they found the leader of this terrorist group who is now the judge of the National High Court attributes the crimes of integration or membership of a terrorist group, indoctrination, collaboration and possession of weapons. They found that facilitator, who was in Algeria: he was ‘El Sheik’, a young “spiritual leader” – in the words of the researchers – whose steps began to be followed from that moment on.
Such had been the indoctrination work that ‘El Sheik’ dispensed to his henchmen who, as sources of the investigation assure this newspaper, “they were all ready to attack”. This time the police officers found no profiles on social media. “It was not advertised there publicly – those same sources insist -. ‘The Sheik was dedicated to creating terrorists. He formed terrorists. He made them terrorists.” I had gotten them to be prepared and ready to carry out a possible attack.
CGI investigators discovered that he had already been expelled from Turkey years ago when he tried to travel to Syria to fight in the ranks of Daesh, the so-called Islamic State. They also found that he had been in prison in his native country for try to indoctrinate others in the ideals of jihadist terrorism. After detecting the moment when he entered Spain, they soon located the house in which he lived in Barcelona and from where he began to teach other Algerians who had already been in Europe for years.
Soon he forms a small circle of trust with them. They are all young. They all lack any documentation. They all look for Daesh pages and have access to weapons. None of them are over 30. Some, in recent months and weeks, have already started to talk about “martyrdom”. However, they note how ‘The Sheik’ occupies, with respect to them, a predominant position.
By then the police officers already know that the young people he has surrounded himself with are street criminals of the same nationality. Before meeting him, his henchmen were dedicated in an organized way to perpetrate all kinds of robberies against tourists. Since their arrival, the agents verified that all of them had experienced signs of radicalization.
The Algerians continued this custom in parallel with the appearance of the one who was to be their boss and mentor. While they continued with the thefts, thus obtaining just enough to live on, they were listening to and internalizing the ideology of the most extremist currents of Islam.
Except for the head of the cell, the other four members had been able to enter Europe years ago. All of them were entering Spain over the last few months until they were grouped between the two cities. None had the documentation in order.
The arrests were rushed when agents specialized in the fight against terrorism detected relevant movements last week. The leader of the group was making arrangements to acquire a rifle kalashnikov. Once ‘The Sheik’ agreed to purchase the weapon, it was decided to act immediately.
The operation, carried out exclusively by EL ESPAÑOL, was commanded by the Examining Court Number 6 of the National Court. Sunday morning troops were deployed around the address in question. 4 of those arrested were arrested in Barcelona. The Madrid detainee was caught in a Foreigners Internment Center (CIE) where he was provisionally, although he had residence in the Catalan capital.
Of all of them, one had already recently entered jail. In house searches, carried out in recent days, researchers have found every kind of machetes, of more than half a meter each, and seventy rounds of 9-millimeter caliber ammunition.
All that arsenal actually belonged to the leader. Among the seized items were also found various effects that allegedly used to falsify official documents.
Only 4 have gone to court. The leader is attributed the crimes of integration or membership of a terrorist group, indoctrination, collaboration and possession of weapons.
The other three are charged with collaboration or membership in a terrorist gang. The fifth, the one who is already behind bars, will have a statement in the next few days. The judge has ordered the remainder to be put in prison.