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Spain arrests man 'plotting Columbine-style massacre'

The 21-year-old had was arrested by police just as he received more than 140 kilograms of explosives that he had bought online.

Image: Andres Kudacki/AP/Press Association Images

SPANISH POLICE HAVE today arrested a 21-year-old man as he received 140 kilograms of explosives and chemicals to carry out a Columbine-style massacre of students.

The suspect was arrested in the tourist haven of Palma de Mallorca and his hate-filled personal diary and other papers revealed plans to attack the University of the Balearic Islands, they said.

Identified only by the initials J.M.M.S., he was detained Wednesday just as he received more than 140 kilograms of explosives and other chemicals that he had bought online, police said in a statement.

“In his personal diary and other documents seized at his home, the detainee showed his hatred of society, especially university students, and his decision to strategically place shrapnel-filled pipe bombs in the university grounds, admitting to a possible suicide in the carrying out of the massacre,” the statement said.


Police launched their investigation five months ago after the suspect’s blog showed sympathy for Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, the heavily armed teenagers who went on a bloody rampage through the halls of Columbine high school in Colorado on April 20, 1999, shooting dead 12 students and a teacher.

“In his blog he included sections in which he spoke about having identical tastes in music, a liking of weapons, clothing and even the social isolation which led him to be marginalised in school,” it said.

During the probe, police said the suspect tried illegally to buy various arms.

When he failed, he applied for a gun permit but was rejected.

“His final goal was to get a large quantity of explosive and chemical substances since, as he explained in his own blog, he knew how to make various types of explosive,” police said.

Investigators tracked the man’s moves and discovered he had bought various explosives and tools necessary to make home-made bombs, the statement said.

Police swooped just as he was about to take delivery of the material on Wednesday morning, it said.

They seized more than 140 kilograms of explosives and chemicals including 125 kilograms of ammonium nitrate with nitrogen, which has explosive properties, the statement said.

They also snatched 12 kilograms of potassium nitrate crystals, 500 grams of sodium sulphide hidrate, a litre of nitric acid, another litre of sulphuric acid and a 500-millilitre chemistry flask.

Planned to bomb university

The young man had obtained tools to build pipe bombs and to force locks and steal arms from places he was watching because he had no other way to get weapons, police said, citing the diary.

“In this diary J.M. also wrote his plan to plant bombs in the University of the Balearic Islands and carry out an act similar in repercussion to that of his Columbine heros, including contemplating suicide,” they said.

Because of his “great hatred” of students, police said, he plotted to place the pipe bombs in the grounds of the sprawling, rural university, which spans 100 hectares (250 acres) and lies in the foothills of the Sierra de Tramuntana mountain range.

- © AFP, 2012

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