Catalan regional gov't, police deny reports of CIA warning over La Rambla attack

Source: Xinhua| 2017-09-01 00:18:01|Editor: yan
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MADRID, Aug. 31 (Xinhua) -- Both the Catalan regional government and police force (Mossos d'Esquadra) in Spain have categorically denied a report published on Thursday that they received a warning from the CIA in May about a possible terror attack on the street of La Rambla in Barcelona.

The denials came after the Catalan daily paper "El Periodico" published what was presented as a copy of the warning which said the CIA had "uncorroborated information of unknown veracity from late May 2017 indicating that the ISIS were planning to carry out unspecified terrorist attacks during the summer against crowded tourist sites in Barcelona, Spain, specifically La Rambla street."

The newspaper reported that this warning had been received by the Spanish National Center for Intelligence (CNI), the Civil Guard, the National Police, the Center for Intelligence against Terrorism and Organized Crime (CITCO) and Mossos d'Esquadra.

In a rapid response, the Catalan regional authority posted a tweet insisting "We categorically deny the false information published by El Periodico claiming that the @CIA had warned @mossos of an attack in Las Ramblas."

Meanwhile, the police also responded with a tweet saying "We have not received anything from the CIA. We defend the honor of our police force and the Mossos from those who look to discredit us."

Also on Thursday noon, Joaquin Form, interior minister of the Catalan regional government, and commander of the Mossos, Josep Lluis Trapero, held a joint press conference in which Forn admitted they had received a warning of a possible terror attack, but insisted it was not from the CIA, explaining that the Mossos receive "dozens of warnings" about possible attacks every day.

"It was a warning of very low reliability and we also discussed it with the Spanish central government and it was not considered as trustworthy in the two meetings we had to evaluate terrorist threat," said Trapero.

The police chief reminded journalists that the perpetrators behind the August 17 attack in La Rambla had previously planned to attack a different target and that the CITCO had confirmed that none of the warnings the Mossos had received were related to that incident.

Director of El Periodico, Enric Hernandez has said the note is genuine, but it is not a copy of the actual document, while Wikileaks have openly questioned its authenticity, pointing out several spelling errors, such as the use of "Irak" rather than the correct English version "Iraq".