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Controversy over poor liaising between Catalan and Spanish police

Spanish law enforcement agencies did not inform their Catalan counterpart that the Ripoll imam who allegedly instigated the Barcelona terror attack last week had been targeted in an anti-jihadi operation by Spanish police back in 2007

Abdelbaki Es Satty, the Ripoll imam who allegedly instigated the terror attacks in Catalonia last week, was targeted in an anti-jihadi operation conducted by Spanish police in 2007. Two Spanish police trade unions, the Policía Nacional’s Sindicato Unificado de Policía (SUP) and the Guardia Civil’s Associación Unificada de Guardias Civiles (AUGC) issued a press release today stating that neither law enforcement agency informed Catalonia’s Mossos d’Esquadra about the imam’s involvement in their operation ten years ago. Their joint statement goes on to say the Catalan police “were unaware” that Mr Es Satty was regarded as a “disciple” of one of the most notorious individuals arrested in Operation Jackal 1 conducted by Spain’s Policía Nacional against jihadi terrorism.

“Once again, it is obvious that the [inter-agency] cooperation agreements were flagrantly ignored and that liaison channels did not work properly”, noted the representatives of the two Spanish police unions. They also criticised the fact that the Policía Nacional and Guardia Civil anti-terror structure was “deliberately sidelined” in the investigation of the attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils last week, with a view to “sending an international message: there is a Catalan state and it is self-sufficient”.

Both the SUP and the AUGC complained about the “exclusion and isolation” experienced by the Spanish law enforcement bodies in the terror probe in Catalonia. Both unions praised the work of the Catalan police officers “who put their lives on the line in order to protect the public”. “For this reason, it is ever more necessary to promote a joint action that welcomes the experience and know-how of Spain’s law enforcement agencies, which have been snubbed on this occasion, at the expense of the safety of the general public”, they concluded.

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