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MADRID, Sept 18: A Pakistani Taliban group linked to Al Qaeda claims it was behind suicide attacks that were planned for Barcelona but thwarted by police, a terrorism expert wrote in a Spanish daily on Thursday.

Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), “claimed responsibility for the terrorist massacre planned in public transports in Barcelona at the beginning of the year”, wrote Fernando Reinares, from the Madrid-based Royal Elcano Institute, in El Pais.

According to Reinares, the movement claimed in a video interview aired at the end of August that 12 of its men had been planning the attack.

In the video, a spokesman for the Taliban movement named Omar said the attack was planned due to Spain’s military presence in Afghanistan.

Created in late 2007, the TTP has between 30,000-35,000 members and is allied with Al Qaeda and directly linked to the Taliban in Afghanistan, said Reinares.

On January 19, a group of radicals, suspected of planning attacks in Barcelona, was dismantled by Spanish intelligence services.

Spain’s anti-terrorist court on June 5 charged 11 South Asians, most of them Pakistanis, with belonging to a terrorist group.

During the Barcelona raids, police recovered bomb-making equipment, but said it was not enough for an attack.—AFP