A group of alleged Islamist extremists were planning a wave of suicide attacks across Europe before they were detained in Barcelona in late January.
The group intended to carry out three attacks in Spain and one each in Portugal, France and Germany, an unnamed man who infiltrated the group told top-selling daily El Pais.
The report comes one day after Spanish judicial sources said that three of the six members of the group, who allegedly planned to blow themselves up, were still at large.
The preferred targets were public transportation networks, especially metro systems because of the difficulty which emergency services would have in reaching the injured there, according to the newspaper.
The attacks would be claimed in the name of al-Qaeda by Islamist warlord Baitullah Mehsud from Pakistan’s tribal region of South Waziristan.
Mehsud is accused by Pakistani officials and the US Central Intelligence Agency of orchestrating former Pakistani premier Benazir Bhutto’s killing in a gun and suicide bomb attack at a political rally on December 27. He has denied any involvement.
The informant arrived recently in Barcelona from France by train to help prepare the attacks, but then tipped off police to the group’s plans, leading to the arrest on January 19 of 14 men – 12 Pakistanis and two Indians.
A US National Intelligence Estimate report released last year warned that al-Qaeda was training scores of recruits in the tribal regions of Pakistan.
Spain was the site of Europe’s worst Islamic-linked terror attack when bombs went off on four commuter trains during the morning rush hour on March 11, 2004.
Last year 21 suspects, mainly from north Africa, were convicted of terrorism and other charges related to the bombings.