Spain Terror Cell 'Planned Sagrada Família Church Attack', Suspect Told Court

Ruben Ruiz
August 23, 2017

The Alcanar explosion came the day before Thursday's Barcelona attack in which a van was driven at speed down the main Las Ramblas boulevard, killing 13 and injuring more than 100.

Police on Monday shot dead Younes Abouyaaqoub, the 22-year-old Moroccan who they believe drove the Barcelona rampage van, in Subirats - about 60 kilometres (37 miles) from the Catalan capital.

Police said they had "scientific evidence" that Abouyaaqoub drove the van that barrelled through Barcelona's crowded Las Ramblas promenade, mowing people down, then hijacked a auto and fatally stabbed its driver while making his getaway.

Fifteen innocent people were killed in the vehicle attacks in Barcelona and the seaside town of Cambrils.

The owner of a cybercafe in Ripoll, the Pyrenees hometown to most of 12 men originally identified as being members of the extremist cell behind the attacks, will remain in custody for at least 72 more hours while police inquiries continue, the judge said.

The terrorists' broader plans are believed to have failed after a stockpile of gas canisters, to be used in an attack, blew up their safe house in Alcanar.

All four men have been detained for five days, the maximum allowed under Spain's anti-terror legislation, and, according to Catalonia's Mossos d'Esquadra police, none of them has previous terror convictions. Abouyaaqoub had four brothers, including Houssaine, killed by police during the Cambrils attack.

Spanish newspapers El Pais and La Vanguardia said they had seen images of what they said is Abouyaaqoub supposedly making a getaway on foot after the Barcelona van attack.

El Karib paid for a flight from Morocco for Oukabir, but said he only did so because Oukabir's brother did not have a credit card and that he reimbursed him.

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The second suspect interrogated, Oukabir, testified he rented the vans used in the attacks on pedestrians but said he thought they were going to be used for a house move.

Mohamed Houli Chemlal, a 21 year-old, who survived an explosion last week that destroyed a house where officials say explosives were being prepared, testified earlier Tuesday.

The suspected jihadists had been preparing bombs for "one or more attacks in Barcelona", regional police chief Josep Lluis Trapero told reporters, revealing that traces of triacetone triperoxide, or TATP, an explosive favored by ISIS, also had been found.

A further 120 people were injured in the two attacks.

Abouyaaqoub was fatally shot by Catalan police on Monday.

The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for both attacks. Police shot dead the five attackers, some of whom were wearing fake explosive belts and carrying knives.

The judicial source said Aalla said his Audi A3 used in last week's attack in Cambrils had been stolen from him.

Driss Oukabir, one of four arrested in relation to the terrorist attacks in Catalonia, is taken to the Audiencia Nacional court on August 22, 2017 in Madrid, Spain. In 2004, bombings on the Madrid rail system killed 192 people and injured about 2,000.

Other reports by GizPress

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