Tue | Jan 22, 2019

ISIS-linked suspect arrested in Colombia showed hate online

Published:Tuesday | March 20, 2018 | 12:43 AM
Police escort Cuban suspect Raul Gutierrez to court where a judge will rule on prosecutors' request he be held on terrorism and conspiracy charges in Bogota, Colombia


Spanish police say the man suspected of plotting an ISIS-inspired attack in Colombia appeared on their radar for hate-filled messages online toward the United States, a country where he had lived and was allegedly trying to get to.

A Colombian judge jailed Raul Gutierrez last week on terrorism and conspiracy charges after the 45-year-old Cuban man had allegedly discussed his plans to attack a cafeteria in central Bogota popular with United States diplomats using homemade explosives. On Telegram, an app for mobile and desktop computers that encrypts online exchanges, Gutierrez said that he would commit a suicide attack in the name of God and the Islamic state, police said.

The attack was initially planned for March 6 but was later rescheduled for March 13, according to two Spanish agents who identified the alleged plot.In order to carry out the plan, Gutierrez had sought work as a dishwasher in a coffee shop located in Bogota's "pink district," they said.

Gutierrez was arrested on March 12 by the Colombian police. The FBI was also part of the joint operation that, according to Spain's police, "successfully neutralised a real and imminent threat against civilians."

The investigators, who requested anonymity for security reasons, monitor online extremist activities in the general information office of the Spanish National Police.They told The Associated Press that Gutierrez's animosity for the United States. caught their attention during an intercepted conversation with other suspects.