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Police detain two Algerians in anti-terrorism operation in Barcelona


BARCELONA (Reuters) - Two Algerian men were detained in an anti-terrorism raid in Spain's second largest city Barcelona on Tuesday morning, police said.

The two Algerians were part of a cell, under investigation since 2017, which was planning an attack with explosives in Barcelona, the regional Catalan police said in a statement, adding that the cell had now been fully disbanded.

"The investigation has allowed us to identify the areas in which the terrorist cell had planned to act, as well as determine that the group had already begun to gain capacity on how to make explosive devices and how to obtain the war weapons they needed to carry out their attack," police said.

The activities of jihadist groups remain a top priority for police in Spain after Islamist militants used a van to hit pedestrians in Barcelona's Las Ramblas boulevard in August 2017 and carried out a follow-up attack in another municipality, killing 16 people in total.

In May, police arrested a Moroccan man in Barcelona with suspected links to Islamic State who they believed was planning a militant attack.

A total of 16 suspected jihadist fighters have been arrested in Spain from the start of the year until July 5th, according to data from the interior ministry.

(Reporting by Inti Landauro, Emma Pinedo and Joan Faus; Editing by Ingrid Melander, William Maclean)

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