Barcelona attack suspect reveals bigger attack with explosives was planned

(From L) Mohamed Houli Chemlal, Driss Oukabir, Salah El Karib, and Mohamed Aallaa, suspected of involvement in the terror cell that carried out twin attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils, escorded by Spanish Civil Guards from a detention center in Tres Cantos, near Madrid, on August 22, 2017. © AFP

A suspected member of the terrorist cell which carried out attacks in Catalonia said the group planned a bigger attack with explosives, Spanish media report. The testimony comes as four alleged group members appear at the high court in Madrid.

The testimony came from Mohamed Houli Chemlal, who was first to testify. The alleged terrorist group member didn’t specify the target for the larger attack initially plotted by the group, EL Pais reports, citing unnamed judicial sources.

However, a conflicting report by El Mundo claims that Chemlal provided details of an initial plot. He reportedly told the judge the group was going to attack major Barcelona monuments, including the Sagrada Familia cathedral, confirming a previous statement he gave to Catalan police.

Chemlal appeared in court with three other surviving suspects on Tuesday. The four are believed to be members of the group responsible for the Thursday carnage at tourist hotspot Las Ramblas in Barcelona, which left 13 people dead and scores injured, as well as the Cambrils attack that followed hours later, in which a woman was stabbed to death.

While the five assailants of the attack in Cambrils were shot by police in a standoff, two other suspected cell members, including the possible mastermind of both assaults, imam Abdelbaki Es Satty, died earlier in an accidental blast in a house in Alcanar. There, police found 120 butane canisters believed to be used in bomb manufacturing.

The last suspect, 22-year-old Younes Abouyaaqoub, was shot and killed by police the day before the first hearing. The manhunt came to an end in Subirats, west of Barcelona, after officers received a tip-off on a suspicious man wearing an explosive belt. Abouyaaqoub is believed to have driven a rented van into pedestrians in Barcelona before escaping on foot.

As Chemlal, Driss Oukabir, Mohamed Aallaa and Salh El Karib gave their statements on the double attacks at the court, a Spanish prosecutor reportedly requested that the judge detain the four without bail, according to EL Pais.

Two of the suspects told the court that imam Abdelbaki Es Satty was the instigator, Spanish media reported, adding that the public prosecutor had asked the judge to send all four to jail while investigations continued.

The four may face jail terms on charges of belonging to a terrorist organization, murder and possession of explosives, El Pais reported, citing the prosecution.

Ref.: https://www.rt.com/news/400536-barcelona-attack-bigger-plot/

Related

Barcelona attack prime suspect killed, all 12 terrorists dead or in custody – police

Barcelona attack prime suspect killed, all 12 terrorists dead or in custody - police

Suspected driver of the van that crashed into pedestrians in Las Ramblas in Barcelona, Spain, August 21, 2017. © Spanish Interior Ministry / Reuters

Catalan police confirmed the shooting death of Younes Abouyaaqoub, the main suspect in the Barcelona attack on Las Ramblas in which 14 people died and over 100 were injured.

All 12 members of the terrorist cell which carried out the attack are either dead or in custody, but the authorities are not closing the investigation.

“Today the 12 names that we have always referred to are in the hands of the justice system, or sadly, as a result of their actions, have been killed,” Catalan police chief Josep Lluis Trapero told a press conference Monday evening, as cited by Reuters.

Despite Abouyaaqoub’s death, Trapero stated that the international probe into the attack “should not be considered closed,” adding instead that “new lines of investigation have been opened up and there will be further developments in the coming weeks.”

Trapero confirmed the death of Younes Abouyaaqoub, 22, the suspected driver in the terrorist attack on Las Ramblas in Barcelona on Thursday in an operation at Subirats, just outside Barcelona, following a manhunt which began last Thursday.

Trapero also confirmed that Imam Abdelbaki Es Satty, suspected of being the mastermind behind the operation, was killed in an accidental explosion at the cell’s base of operations in Alcanar.

The bomb disposal unit deployed a robot at the scene to inspect what they thought was an explosive belt worn by Abouyaaqoub.

Abouyaaqoub was shot as he approached a police vehicle. Local media claim that police helicopters are searching the area for a suspected accomplice and authorities have asked people in the area not to broadcast the location of checkpoints as the security operation is ongoing.

Earlier Monday, police released an image of Younes Abouyaaqoub, seeking information on his whereabouts. “The driver of the van is dangerous and may be armed. Wanted for his role in the attack in Barcelona’s Las Ramblas, which occurred on August 17,” Catalan law enforcement said.

A total of 15 people died as a result of the terrorist attacks in Catalonia on Thursday. Thirteen died in the attack on Las Ramblas, while one other was killed in the attack in the resort town of Cambrils later that day.

The driver of a car used as an escape vehicle by the suspected van attacker succumbed to his injuries today having been stabbed multiple times.

Ref.: https://www.rt.com/news/400410-barcelona-driver-arrest-report/

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