The terror cell that carried out deadly attacks in Spain in August had been planning to use 100 kilos of TATP explosive to cause even more carnage, a Catalan daily reported today.
This is far higher than any of the known seizures in Europe of the easy-to-make explosive known as the "mother of Satan" and used by jihadists everywhere from Paris and Brussels to the battlefields of Syria and Iraq.
According to the Periodico de Catalunya daily, Mohamed Houli Chemlal, the only survivor of an explosion in a house used as a bomb factory by the cell, told a judge investigating the attacks they were making 100 kilos of the explosive.
Asked by reporters, Interior Minister Juan Ignacio Zoido refused to confirm the information, as did Spain's National Court, which deals with terror cases.
Chemlal told the judge that the blast happened when members of the terror cell were in the final stage of making the explosives, which they wanted to put into 20 bags divided into three vans to wreak havoc near famous landmarks, the daily said.
TATP has become the explosive of choice for the Islamic State group, as it can easily be made from ingredients such as acetone and oxygenated water that are easily available in high street stores.
Investigators found 15 kilos of the explosive in a flat near Brussels after suicide attacks at the Belgian capital's airport in March 2016.
It was also used in attacks in Paris in November 2015 and in Manchester in May.
According to the Catalan daily, the first floor of the house in Alcanar used by the terror cell "was completely covered with the substance that was drying."
But something went wrong and the house exploded, prompting the surviving members of the cell to carry out their vehicle rampage attacks in Barcelona and the seaside resort of Cambrils on August 17 and 18.