Catalan authorities claim Spain had warning about Barcelona attacks


Catalan authorities have claimed Spain received a warning in May that "ISIS"was planning an attack in Barcelona, but decided it lacked credibility.

They denied news reports that US security agencies were behind the warning of an attack targeting the city.

The Catalan daily 'El Periodico de Cataluna' reported that the US National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) had alerted Spanish intelligence officers to the threat weeks before the attacks.

"Unsubstantiated information from late May 2017 indicated that ISIS was planning to conduct terrorist attacks during the summer against crowded tourist sites in Barcelona, Spain, specifically La Rambla street," according to what the paper claims was an NCTC briefing note dated 25 May.

The note is a transcription, and not the original, which explains why it has several spelling mistakes, the newspaper's director Enric Hernandez said.

However, the regional Catalan government's interior minister, Joquim Forn, dismissed the note as a "composite".

"The warning regarding a possible attack in the summer in places such as Las Ramblas reached us from other sources," he told a news conference without giving further details.

After analysing the information in the warning, and sharing it with Spain's central government, Spanish authorities concluded the "warning had very little credibility," he added.

There is "absolutely no link between this information" and the van attack in Barcelona on 17 August, he said.

The head of Catalonia's regional police, Josep Lluis Trapero, said the warning did not come from the CIA or the NCTC.

A spokesman for Spain's CNI intelligence agency refused to "confirm or deny anything on communication with other intelligence services".

The interior ministry did not respond to a request for comment.

The Madrid-based Cadena SER radio station quoted "anti-terror sources" suggesting that the document published by El Periodico de Cataluna was authentic.

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