Madrid, Jan 20: Spanish police has arrested 14 suspected militants -- 12 Pakistanis and two others -- in an early morning raids on Jan 19. Interior Minister Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba said that the authorities suspected that the men were plotting a terrorist attack in Barcelona.
Rubalcaba said four timers had been found in some of the suspects" homes, the Dawn reported. “When someone has timers at home you have no option but to think violent acts are being planned," he said, adding that more arrests were expected and the country was on high security alert.
He said that the arrests -- many of which were reportedly in Barcelona"s Raval neighbourhood -- were prompted by information from several European intelligence agencies.
Raval is home to one of Spain"s largest concentrations of Pakistani immigrants. Spain"s leading El Pais newspaper noted that the discovery of the alleged plot coincided with a visit to Europe by President Pervez Musharraf, who is scheduled to make stops in France, Britain and Switzerland in coming days.
Civil Guard officers made the arrests as part of raids planned with the National Intelligence Centre, Rubalcaba said. Five homes were searched overnight, he said. Spanish newspapers reported that a mosque and an unauthorised prayer centre had also been targeted. Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero confirmed the arrests and said investigations were continuing.