The publication El Periódico ran a piece on Friday October 19th revealing that passports stolen from tourists in Barcelona are being used by Al Qaeda.
Passports stolen here are sold by street thieves to a Barcelona-based group specialising in the sourcing and supply of international identity documents.
The group was recently broken-up by Spanish police, according to the article, after one of their operatives was detained in Barcelona airport with 100 stolen passports. He was minutes away from boarding a plane destined for Greece. The passports were destined for an Al Qaeda cell based in Germany.
Detainees amongst the five-strong Barcelona-based group included Moroccans, Algerians and Belgians. Arrests took place in the Barceloneta district of Barcelona, popular with tourists for its proximity to the local beaches, a robbery hotspot.
We wrote a blogpost pertaining to this back in December 2010, when El Periódico ran another piece – with video – on the topic.