Two or three conspirators working for months in the cellar of a house in an obscure village in Catalonia.
The air is filled with the ozone stink of solder. Wires and batteries are scattered across benches. Orange domestic gas canisters are stacked against the walls of the cellar. Many more are piled in pyramids above ground.
There is an air of businesslike excitement among the men and the cell that supports them – a network of childhood friends and two sets of brothers. Soon, they believe, the unbelievers are going to pay.
Pay for the Crusader war against the Muslim Umma. Pay for the disappointment of thwarted immigrant dreams. Pay with their lives in a vast and glorious conflagration.
Then BOOM. On Wednesday night this week those fantasies were blown away along with the house which is now a pile of rubble smattered with the remains of one, maybe two, conspirators.
A survivor is in hospital, handcuffed to his bed.
The rest of the cell, Spanish police say, facing exposure, recovered from the black comedy of an incompetent bomb factory. Sadly, this lot had a plan B.
Spain’s police, the Mossos d’Esquadra, believe the gang quickly recovered. Hiring three vehicles, two vans and an Audi A3, sending one van to commit mass murder in Barcelona.
The Audi attacked Cambrils. But by then the police had triggered a regional anti-terror plan to head off further attacks after Barcelona’s streets were smeared with blood.
Five men crammed into an Audi A3 drove at pedestrians and injured a police officer before coming under fire, crashing, and getting finished off in short order.
They managed to kill a woman of 61 and injure six others during an attempt to emulate the mass murderers who attacked Borough Market in London. It could have been a lot worse.
Luckily the jihadi fetish for making bombs is not matched by their competence.