Among the targets considered by the terror cell behind last year's attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils, besides the Sagrada Famíla, were a number of clubs. Barcelona's largest, in fact.
The terrorists were inspired by the attacks in Paris in November 2015, specifically the attack in the Bataclan, according to court documents seen by El Nacional.
Police have found, on the terrorists' mobiles, various searches of targets, including Barcelona clubs Bagdad, Razzmatazz and Pacha. On 12th July last year, they made a very clear search: "the largest clubs of Barcelona". According to the police report, the terrorists made individual searches for each room, then another general search for "gay clubs Sitges" and "the largest gay clubs Sitges". Sitges is a coastal town just south of Barcelona, popular with tourists.
According to investigators, "the objectives would be fully in line with the directives of the organisation Islamic State (Daesh). On 25th November 2014, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights recorded the first execution by stoning, by Daesh executors, of a person accused of being homosexual. The most significant attack carried out by a follower of this terrorist organisation was the attack at the club Pulse in Orlando (USA), very popular with the town's LGBT community, in June 2016. That attack caused fifty deaths and a similar number of injured".
On 13th July, the searches shifted to festivals around 19th August: "rototom sunsplash festival 2017 benicassim", "all festivals 19.08.2017 in Valencia" and "Carpas Benicassim 19.8.2017". Other searches they made were "agenda concerts barcelona", "2017 Sitges town festival" and "Sitges town festival els Barranques".
Barça, Girona and Espanyol clubs
The cell also searched for sports events, focusing on the three Catalan clubs in the Spanish first division: "the next matches to be played at camp nou" (NB: Camp Nou is Barça's stadium), "Girona stadium", "espanyol stadium" and "all bbva league matches 2017".
The Mossos d'Esquadra, Catalan police, also see copycat behaviour in these searches: "It should be highlighted that an attack at a football field isn't new either, since in the attacks in Paris on 13th November 2015 there was an attack at Saint Denis stadium, during an international match involving the French team".
On 14th, 15th and 16th August, their searches focused on Camp Nou. They looked for information on the match between Betis and Barça and about gate 18 at the stadium.
The investigators see Camp Nou as a completely credible target: "What finally appears as a very probable target of the terrorist attack (or one of the targets) is FC Barcelona's football stadium, both for the variety of combinations used in the searches and for the number of them. It also has to be highlighted that that same weekend, on Sunday 20th August 2017, the match FC Barcelona-Betis was played."