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Former commissioner of the Spanish National Police, José Manuel Villarejo, has declared before Spain’s National Audience court that the attacks of August 17th, 2017, in Barcelona and Cambrils were the result of a "miscalculation" by the CNI, the Spanish intelligence service: "The CNI miscalculated the consequences of giving Catalonia a little scare". A definition for terrorist acts that killed 16 people and injured 140.

Hushed up until now

This statement is related to the trial for the Tándem case, Villarejo points directly to Félix Sanz Roldán, who was commander of the Spanish National Intelligence Centre in 2017. The attacks happened the summer prior to the celebration of the October 1st referendum, at the height of the civil society process towards Catalan independence.

The presiding judge that tried the 17-A attacks, Alfonso Guevara, had ruled that former Commissioner Villarejo could not testify at the trial, as some parties demanded. Today, Villarejo was able to "get the thorn out of his side". Thus, in his statement, he directly implicates the imam of the city of Ripoll, Abdelbaki es Satty, whom he accuses of working in collusion with the CNI, affirming that the latter would have allowed the imam to "do whatever he found appropriate".

First reactions

Jaume Alonso Cuevillas, lawyer for Javier Martínez, father of the three-year-old boy from Rubí, killed during the August 17th terrorist attacks, and other relatives of the victims, was among the first to react to Villarejo's statements. “From the first day we asked for an investigation into the (obvious) connections between the CNI and the imam," he said. “They flat out refused. Why?", he tweeted. He linked the website that was opened at the time to demand an investigation and an exact explanation of the facts, through the portal "Queremos saber la verdad" (We want to know the truth).

TUIT Cuevillas 17 A

The precedents

The former commissioner had already given some clues as to what he said today in Spain’s National Audience court. A year ago, he detailed how he tried to infiltrate a Moroccan source, who warned of the risk of an attack on Barcelona.

However, he assured that the CNI rejected him because they said the source was not reliable. "Unfortunately, this is what ended up happening on the Rambla," said Villarejo. He also denounced how the CNI endangered its sources by leaking a photograph of him in Melilla in a secret anti-terrorist operation. The events took place two years before the attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils.

The detail of his statement also noted that "a very important source warned of the risk of the attack that would take place, as unfortunately happened later in La Rambla". The former commissioner highlighted that "the CNI said he was not reliable because he had worked for them before, but he was actually a Moroccan spy". It was in 2015 when he tried to infiltrate this source without success. Today, he directly accused the Spanish intelligence service.