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Report: Eiffel Tower may have been target of Spanish IS cell

Researchers say protective wall was put up around Paris landmark after video of site found at destroyed terrorist hideout

People walk on the Trocadero esplanade with the Eiffel Tower in the background on the morning of January 17, 2018, in Paris. (AFP Photo/Ludovic Marin)
People walk on the Trocadero esplanade with the Eiffel Tower in the background on the morning of January 17, 2018, in Paris. (AFP Photo/Ludovic Marin)

A new report suggested that the Eiffel Tower may have been among the targets of the Islamic State terror cell that attacked Barcelona.

The protective wall that surrounds the Eiffel Tower was installed after video of a trip to Paris was found in a destroyed hideout, according to the report by researchers Fernando Reinares and Carola Garcia-Calvo in January’s CTC Sentinel, a research publication into terrorism. The cell attacked Barcelona’s La Rambla and a beachside town, killing 16 people in August.

Only flawed bomb construction prevented a deadlier attack. Their hideout blew up as they were assembling explosives.

According to the report, based on interviews with investigators and court documents, members of the cell traveled to Paris before the attack for reasons investigators have yet to determine. There, they bought a camera and filmed the Eiffel Tower.

Police officers stand next to the van involved on an attack in Las Ramblas in Barcelona, Spain, August 17, 2017. (AP/Manu Fernandez)

The Islamic State terror group claimed responsibility for the van attack in Barcelona’s Las Ramblas district and a vehicle and knife attack in the coastal town of Cambrils on August 17-18.

Six attackers were shot dead by police and five people have been arrested in connection with the attacks. Three are in custody and two others have been freed but remain under investigation.

Authorities say 201 suspected jihadi activists have been arrested since Spain raised its national security alert to one step below the maximum in mid-2015.

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