FBI Surveillance of the Dark Web Uncovers Student Planning Terrorist Attack on Lisbon University Campus, Notifies Portuguese Police of Arrest
An 18-year-old Lisbon University student was arrested last Thursday by Portuguese police on suspicion of terrorist crimes, as he had been planning for months to attack fellow students at the University of Lisbon's Faculty of Sciences. The "terrorist act," as the judiciary calls it, was scheduled for last Friday, the day the young man was presented to the judges of the Central Criminal Investigation Court, which will take coercive measures. The attack did not take place only because the judiciary intervened in advance.
The student was allegedly preparing a terrorist attack on the science department of his university, "with the aim of killing as many people as possible". He "wanted to emulate" the massacres that occurred on U.S. college campuses.
The FBI discovered the plot through online chat room conversations on the Dark Web, which they rightfully monitor in the ongoing "war" on international terrorism, and immediately notified Portuguese police.
According to CNN, information from the FBI indicated that the attack would take place tomorrow (Friday), which is why the Portuguese police acted quickly.
A police communiqué said that through a search conducted early last Thursday morning, "police seized a large amount of evidence that confirmed the initial suspicions. In addition to various illegal weapons, other items that could have been used to commit violent crimes were found - a large number of documents, including a written plan that included details of the criminal operation to be launched." Some of the weapons were described in the police bulletin as "knives, machetes, steel darts and bows. No guns were found, but flammable materials, such as gasoline and gas, were found, which the judiciary believes could have been used to cause an explosion.
At this point, the motive is not believed to be religious - more of a strong desire for violence.
The young man, born in Battaglia (city of Leiria), allegedly said he wanted to carry out terrorist activities in Portugal, the FBI discovered in the course of monitoring the dark web.
CNN's justice editor Henrique Machado has been talking on his radio station about the student's "pathological fascination" with violence and how the incident is "unprecedented in Portugal. So far, the country has been largely free of terrorist incidents and there have been zero terrorist attacks.
He added that the Portuguese police's terrorist operations team has been working around the clock to identify students who do not appear online under their real names. Other potential terrorists must be traced by IP address, and "around the clock".
The student, himself a computer science student at Campo Grande, is known to be a cautious introvert with no criminal record. He was detained overnight and brought before a judge for questioning.
The management of the higher education institution explained that the situation had no impact on the Faculty of Science at the University of Lisbon, where the young man was studying and planning to carry out the attack, and that the faculty continued to operate normally. In a statement, the school said, "The work carried out by the authorities has always allowed the security of the scientific community, and there is no and no indication of any proposed changes to the normal functioning of the school."
This appears to be an unprecedented situation in Portugal. "The investigation was triggered by the suspicion of an attack against students of the University of Lisbon. Given the seriousness of the suspicion, the investigation was given the highest priority, which enabled the interruption of the ongoing criminal activity early Thursday morning." Portuguese police said in a statement and explained that an 18-year-old was arrested on the spot for possession of several prohibited weapons.
From：On DarkNet – Dark Web News and Analysis
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