They once plotted insurrection in Britain. Young, middle-class, and angry, they were the vanguard of a generation of disaffected Muslims that, at its most extreme, gave rise to the July 7, 2005, transportation bombers. But now, in one of the most visible assaults on political Islam from within the British Muslim community, a network of ex-radicals launched on Tuesday a movement to fight the same ideology that they once worked to spread.
Spain went on maximum terror alert on Thursday ahead of the start of official campaigning in the country, in what is turning out to be one of the most fiercely contested legislative election in decades. The interior minister said that the alert would provide for a total mobilization of security forces, monitoring party headquarters, election meetings, public transportation, and other public venues. The rise in the terror alert was attributed to fears of an attack by the armed Basque separatist group ETA, and correspondents also say the threat comes from Islamist militants. The outcome of the last general election held in 2004 was altered by the morning bombings of packed commuter trains three days prior to the elections.
As Barcelona officials assured the public that the city’s subway system is safe, the 14 recently arrested suspects are believed to have had plans to hit public transportation targets in several European cities. Authorities believe three of those arrested were prepared to carry out suicide bombings. Spanish police believe that three suspects remain on the loose, and may be trying to travel to Germany and France to stage attacks there. Of the 14 originally arrested, ten remain and jail, and four have been released.