- Spanish police
- Spanish police think the Barcelona killer is still on the run, three days after striking at the heart of the city. Focus has turned to 22-year-old Younes Abouyaaqoub after earlier reports that Moussa Oukabir was the prime suspect. More victims are being named, including a Canadian and an American. Fifty people remain in hospital, 12 of whom are in a critical condition. Spanish Interior Minister Juan Ignacio Zoido said the country will reinforce security at tourist hotspots, but added there is no imminent threat.
The suspect who killed 13 people after rampaging through the heart of Barcelona in a van is still on the run, Spanish police have suggested.
There were widespread reports on Friday that 17-year-old Moussa Oukabir was the main suspect after Thursday’s terror attack, with police revealing in the evening that he had been shot dead.
But later on Friday, Josep Lluis Trapero, police chief in Spain’s northeastern region of Catalonia, said the theory that Oukabir was the driver was “losing weight,” according to Reuters.
The focus has now turned to Moroccan-born Younes Abouyaaqoub. The 22-year-old reportedly lived in the town of Ripoll to the north of Barcelona.
- Ricard Belis Garcia/ Twitter
At least 13 were killed and 125 others were injured in Thursday’s atrocity. Witnesses to the attack in Barcelona described how the van zigzagged down Las Ramblas, a long, tree-lined boulevard that is one of Barcelona’s central tourist spots, at about 5 p.m. local time.
A 14th civilian died in the separate attack in Cambrils later on Thursday, during which a number of aggressors drove a car into pedestrians.
More victims are being identified, including Canadian national ian Moore Wilson and American Jared Tucker. Fifty people remain in hospital, 12 of whom are in a critical condition. Another 24 have “major” injuries, police said.
In a press conference on Saturday, Spanish Interior Minister Juan Ignacio Zoido said the country will reinforce security at tourist hotspots. He added that Spain will maintain its security alert level at 4, one notch below the maximum level, Reuters reported, but said there is no imminent threat.
Zoido said the terror cell behind the attacks has been disbanded. Police shot dead five aggressors in Cambrils on Thursday night, while four people have been arrested in connection with the attacks.
Police said they believe the atrocities were the work of a coordinated terror cell, who have been planning the attacks “for some time.”
Two men were arrested Thursday evening, three in Ripoll and another in Alcanar, two towns in the Catalonia region of Spain, of which Barcelona is the capital.
At a press conference on Friday, the chief of the Catalan police said that three of the arrested men are Moroccan and that one is Spanish. They are aged 21, 27, 28, and 34. None of them had a history of terrorist activity, he said.
- Sergio Perez/Reuters
Officers believe that the two attacks are related to an explosion at a house in Alcanar the previous day. Reuters cited police sources who said the house was being used as a lab to make weapons with explosive gas.
Spain’s prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, characterised the attackers as jihadists. At a news conference on Thursday evening, Rajoy said the attack was an act of “jihadist terrorism” and that defeating it must be the world’s No. 1 priority.
The Islamic State terrorist group claimed responsibility for the attack via its Amaq news agency, though the group, also known as ISIS, has not offered proof to support its involvement. A statement said, “The perpetrators of the Barcelona attack are soldiers of the Islamic State and carried out the operation in response to calls for targeting coalition states.”
Spain is part of the international coalition against ISIS. It has helped train soldiers in Iraq but, unlike the UK and the US, has not directly taken military action in Syria or Iraq.
This story is developing.