Barcelona terror attack: Spain suspects bought weapons after first attack

Cheryl Sanders
August 23, 2017

Four suspects detained during the investigation into the deadly Catalonia attacks will appear before a judge for the first time Tuesday, after the eight other members of the jihadist terror cell were killed.

At least 15 people were killed and more than 100 injured in twin attacks in which vehicles were used to mow down pedestrians on Barcelona's most popular street and in Cambrils, a busy seaside resort town.

Under heavy security yesterday, police vans carrying the suspects entered the National Court, which deals with terrorism cases, where a judge was due to decide what - if any - charges to press against the four men.

Abouyaaqoub was shot dead by police on Monday after he was sighted in a village not far from Barcelona.

Investigators also recovered butane bombs, TATP and several ISIS-related documents inside the house, including plane tickets to Brussels, Belgium, the document says.

An alleged member of a terror cell, which carried out the Barcelona van attack, told a Spanish court yesterday that the group had been planning a much bigger attack using explosives, a judicial source said.

Speaking anonymously in line with court rules, the court official said Chemlal answered questions, but gave no details of what the suspect said in court.

Another person was killed by the alleged Barcelona van attacker as he fled. He was the lone survivor of a blast that destroyed a house in Alcanar, where police believe the cell was preparing explosives.

Islamic State claimed responsibility for the Barcelona attack along with another vehicle attack Friday in which a auto crashed into people in the resort town of Cambrils, Spain, and the attackers then got out and tried to stab people.

The French daily Le Parisien reported on Monday that the auto came through the Paris region about a week before Thursday and Friday's attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils that killed 15 people. The attacks and a bloody getaway in which a man was stabbed to death left 15 dead and over 120 wounded.

A spokeswoman for prosecutors said the four suspects would be interrogated in the presence of lawyers provided by the court throughout the day.

Oukabir, Aalla and el Karib were arrested on Thursday in the north-eastern town of Ripoll.

Abouyaaqoub's brother and friends made up the rest of the 12-man extremist cell, police say.

Police deployed a robot to remove what turned out to be a fake explosives belt from Abouyaaqoub's body before officers were cleared to approach it and make a positive identification, authorities said Monday.

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 vehicle and fatally stabbed its driver while making his getaway.

Aallaa, freed conditionally and the owner of the Audi used in Cambrils, said it was registered under his name for insurance reasons but that his brother Said, 19, used it. Spanish media say the other 11 suspects are mostly or all Moroccans that lived in Spain.

Chemlal was born in Melilla, one of Spain's two North African coastal enclaves that have borders with Morocco.

Abouyaaqoub, a 22-year-old Moroccan, was the suspected driver of the van that sped down Las Ramblas in the center of Barcelona on Thursday, leaving dead and injured people in its wake.

This story has been corrected to show 13 were killed in Barcelona attack, instead of 14, and to correct the spelling of suspect's surname to Chemlal.

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