Barcelona jihadists intended to blow up Christian Basilica of Sagrada Familia

(BREITBART) — by Thomas D. Williams, Ph.D.

The Islamic terrorists who carried out a killing rampage in Barcelona earlier this week had plans to blow up the iconic Catholic basilica of la Sagrada Familia, according to new reports.

The Spanish newspaper El Español has noted that the jihadist cell had a stockpile of explosives at a nearby property in Alcanar (Tarragona) and intended to use three vans to detonate them in three different points of the city in order to inflict the greatest possible damage. An accidental explosion at the Alcanar estate on Wednesday left the terrorists without ammunition and forced them to improvise the vehicle attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils, the report states.

“They were preparing one or several attacks in Barcelona and an explosion in Alcanar stopped this as they no longer had the material they needed to commit attacks of an even bigger scope,” said Josep Lluis Trapero of Catalonia’s police.

The explosion killed one jihadists and left another in serious condition.

The prime target of the attack was meant to be the Catholic Sagrada Familia (Holy Family) basilica, an enormous neo-gothic structure designed by Spanish artist Antoni Gaudí, which draws huge numbers of visitors and pilgrims each day. Construction of the still unfinished church began in 1882 and is projected for completion in 2026.

According to reports, the terrorists had chosen the Basilica of the Sagrada Familia as their main target because it is a symbol of the city and of the Christian religion, as well as for the massive flow of visitors. During 2016, the church was visited by some 4.5 million people, and more than 20 million people came to view the structure from the outside.

[READ MORE]