Europe

Mohamed Harrak, a Moroccan Was Planning a Terrorist Attack in Spain

Mohamed-Harrak-spain-attack

By Raphael Minder (NY Times) – @RaphaelMinder.


MADRID — A Moroccan restaurant cook who was arrested this week on the island of Majorca had been preparing a terrorist attack in Spain, according to a judge, who ordered him imprisoned without bail on Thursday.

The cook, Mohamed Harrak, 26, was arrested on Tuesday and questioned by Judge Carmen Lamela Díaz of the Audiencia Nacional, or National Court, in Madrid on Thursday. In a report after her video conference with Mr. Harrak, the judge stated several reasons to keep him in prison, including his involvement in a plan to carry out a terrorist attack in Spain that was aborted for reasons beyond his control.

Judge Lamela Díaz did not provide any details about the alleged plot.

Mr. Harrak was also preparing to travel to Syria to join Islamic State fighters there, according to the judge’s 13-page report. He had gathered military documentation, undergone training and taken part in a European competition of so-called airsoft, a form of combat simulation, she wrote.

Judge Lamela Díaz also found that Mr. Harrak had actively sought to recruit Islamic fighters online and helped organize clandestine travel routes to the war zone from Europe, with the help of Islamic State members in Syria.

Mr. Harrak is also accused of spreading violent messages and propaganda from the Islamic State as far back as 2014, including publishing an online video showing the execution of a British hostage. After the attacks in and around Paris on Nov. 13, the judge wrote, Mr. Harrak posted another message online, calling it “an excellent day” that “left Europe shaking.” In January, he downloaded an Arabic-language manual that the Islamic State has used to help prepare terrorists.

Mr. Harrak was arrested after being put under surveillance for two months. The police also found 22 grams of cocaine in his apartment, as well as scales. Traces of cocaine and another scale were found in the hotel restaurant where he worked.

Mr. Harrak had been sentenced in 2010 for hitting his sister, who was then 12, a local newspaper, Diario de Mallorca, reported on Friday. That sentence then prevented him from gaining Spanish citizenship, according to the newspaper.

Since Mr. Harrak’s arrest on Tuesday, the newspaper has published articles about his activities, largely based on interviews with friends and neighbors. Mr. Harrak was described as a basketball referee and an introvert. He was arrested in Son Gotleu, a poor neighborhood of Palma, the island’s capital, where he lived with his parents and two siblings.

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