The attempted assassination of the Conservative Vox party founder Alejandro Vidal-Quadras was planned three months in advance, according to Spanish police.
Testimonies from detained suspects have led police to conclude the attack on Vidal-Quadras, a former MEP, was planned in the months before September.
Investigation leaks confirm Vidal-Quadras, 78, the former leader of the centre-right Partido Popular in Catalonia, had been followed in the weeks before the murder attempt on November 9.
The police also identified the alleged shooter as Mehrez Ayari, a 37-year-old French national of Tunisian origin.
Ayari apparently chose Madrid’s peripheral Fuenlabrada city as his centre of operations. He had stayed at a local hotel the night before it is alleged he attempted to kill Vidal-Quadras.
Fuenlabrada is also where he reportedly torched the motorbike he rode on the day of the attack before leaving the city.
According to the ongoing investigation, Ayari fled from Spain to Portugal with the help of an unidentified woman.
Police have not ruled out it could also have been co-ordinated by an external third-party.
Ayari’s whereabouts are still unknown.
Spain’s National High Court launched an international search-and-arrest warrant for Ayari on November 28.
The investigators have not ruled out the possibility that he may have fled from Portugal to another country.
Ayari is suspected of having shot Vidal-Quadras in the face in the busy Núñez de Balboa Street in Madrid city centre as the Catalan politician was leaving church.
On X, Vidal-Quadras had posted his disagreement with the amnesty deal between the Spanish Socialist Government of Pedro Sánchez and Carles Puigdemont’s Junts per Catalunya party just moments before he was hit.
He was left with a fractured jaw and discharged from Madrid’s Gregorio Marañón Hospital on November 23 after two weeks of intensive care.
He is expected to continue engaging in politics, although not on the frontlines, observers say.
Police are still searching for anyone who may have hired Ayari to allegedly carry out the would-be assassination.
The Spanish authorities have not yet ruled out that the Iranian regime might be behind the attack.
Vidal-Quadras claimed from his hospital bed that the Tehran regime “plotted and executed” the operation against him.
He is a staunch defender of the Iranian opposition. In 2022, the Iranian Government declared Vidal-Quadras a “terrorist”.