They were affiliated with the Islamic State. What Charlie Hebdo-like targets they intended to hit have not been revealed.
“Spain terror alert: Three men ‘set to commit Charlie Hebdo attack’ arrested in dawn raids,” by Gerard Couzens, Express, November 3, 2015 (thanks to Lookmann):
POLICE in Spain say they have arrested three Moroccans who were ready to commit a Charlie Hebdo-style terror attack.
The trio, accused of forming part of a group linked to Islamic State, were held during dawn raids in Madrid today….
Interior Ministry officials said in a statement released early today, where it referred to Islamic State by its acronym DAESH: “Police in Madrid have arrested three people of Moroccan origin, living in Spain, accused of forming part of a group linked to the terrorist organisation DAESH.
“According to sources in the investigation, they were prepared to carry out, at any moment, terrorist acts like those that have taken place recently in neighbouring countries.
“The operation is ongoing.”
The arrests are understood to have taken place in Madrid neighbourhood Vallecas and La Canada Real, the largest shanty town in Europe which includes an area controlled by drug gangs who sell to users from around the Spanish capital.
In January four men were arrested in Spain’s north African enclave of Ceuta. Spain’s Home Office minister described them at the time as having a “very similar profile” to the French extremists who killed 11 people and injured another 12 during a January 7 massacre at the offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris.
In March a Spanish judge revealed chilling details of a telephone conversation between a Spanish immigrant and an Islamic State terrorist after she was arrested trying to enter Syria illegally with her three-year-old boy.
Fernando Andreu remanded Moroccan-born Samira Yerou in prison after she was extradited to Spain from Turkey, saying she had got her son to repeat: “I slit the policeman’s throat’ and “I want to go with the mujahideen to kill” after putting him on the phone to the terrorist.