Spanish police unsure where suspected driver has fled to

Suspects in the Barcelona and Cambrils attacks include (from top) Moussa Oukabir, Said Aallaa, Mohamed Hychami and Younes Abouyaaqoub. As many as eight of 12 young men named as suspects are first- and second- generation Moroccan immigrants from Ripol
Above: A large crowd mourning the victims of last week's attack in Barcelona's Las Ramblas boulevard yesterday. PHOTOS: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY, REUTERS
Suspects in the Barcelona and Cambrils attacks include (from top) Moussa Oukabir, Said Aallaa, Mohamed Hychami and Younes Abouyaaqoub. As many as eight of 12 young men named as suspects are first- and second- generation Moroccan immigrants from Ripol
Police officers at a security checkpoint in Ripoll, a small town where many of the young suspects came from.PHOTOS: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY, REUTERS
Suspects in the Barcelona and Cambrils attacks include (from top) Moussa Oukabir, Said Aallaa, Mohamed Hychami and Younes Abouyaaqoub. As many as eight of 12 young men named as suspects are first- and second- generation Moroccan immigrants from Ripol
Suspects in the Barcelona and Cambrils attacks include Moussa Oukabir (above left), Said Aallaa (above right), Mohamed Hychami and Younes Abouyaaqoub. As many as eight of 12 young men named as suspects are first- and second-generation Moroccan immigrants from Ripoll.
Suspects in the Barcelona and Cambrils attacks include (from top) Moussa Oukabir, Said Aallaa, Mohamed Hychami and Younes Abouyaaqoub. As many as eight of 12 young men named as suspects are first- and second- generation Moroccan immigrants from Ripol
Suspects in the Barcelona and Cambrils attacks include Moussa Oukabir, Said Aallaa, Mohamed Hychami (above left) and Younes Abouyaaqoub (above right). As many as eight of 12 young men named as suspects are first- and second-generation Moroccan immigrants from Ripoll.

Locals, tourists turn out in force to mourn victims at ceremony amid tight security

BARCELONA • The Moroccan suspected of driving the van used in one of the twin attacks that killed 14 in Spain could be at large outside the country, the police said yesterday as Barcelona mourned victims of the vehicle rampage.

"We don't know where he is," said regional police chief Josep Lluis Trapero, referring to 22-year-old suspect Younes Abouyaaqoub, as officials confirmed that the cell behind the carnage had been preparing "one or more" assaults in Barcelona.

More than 120 gas canisters have been uncovered in a house where the suspects were believed to have been building bombs, Mr Trapero said. But they had accidentally detonated an explosive in the house on the eve of last Thursday's attack in Barcelona, which likely forced them to modify their plans.

Instead, a vehicle was used to smash into crowds on Barcelona's Las Ramblas boulevard, killing 13 people and injuring about 100.

Police yesterday confirmed that Julian Cadman, a seven-year-old dual British-Australian national, was among those killed.

Hours later, another attack in the seaside town of Cambrils led to the death of a woman. Police shot and killed the five attackers in Cambrils.

In Barcelona, locals and tourists turned out in force yesterday to mourn victims at the Sagrada Familia church as snipers were posted on surrounding rooftops.

King Felipe, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and Catalonia's President Carles Puigdemont led the 90-minute ceremony, while heavily armed police stood guard outside.

Local resident Teresa Rodriguez said she came to pray for the dead and wounded from three dozen countries.

"What happened in Las Ramblas is really hard for us, we go for walks there often, it could have happened to me, my children or anyone. And here we are. It's huge, huge," she said, fighting back tears.

The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria claimed responsibility for the attacks, believed to be its first in Spain. The terror cell was reportedly made up of at least 12 men, some teenagers.

Police also confirmed that an imam, Abdelbaki Es Satty, was among the suspects. He is believed to have radicalised many of the youths in a small town called Ripoll.

As many as eight of 12 young men named as suspects in the attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils are first- and second-generation Moroccan immigrants from Ripoll, perched high in the forests at the edge of the Pyrenees, a two-hour drive on the highway from Barcelona.

Ripoll resident Moha, 46, said the imam was at first part of the only mosque in town but "later left and (set up) his own prayer hall in a garage". "There has been a change in the community since he arrived more than two years ago," said Mr Moha. He said the youths used to visit a Moroccan cafe near the first mosque where they would watch football matches, but had stopped doing so more than a year ago.

In the Moroccan town of M'rirt, relatives of Abouyaaqoub accused the imam of radicalising the young man and his brother Houssein.

Police searched the imam's abandoned apartment in Ripoll for DNA traces on Saturday as they suspected he could be one of the two men killed in last Wednesday's explosion.

He was reportedly known to police, with Spanish media saying he had spent time in prison.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, WASHINGTON POST

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 21, 2017, with the headline 'Spanish police unsure where suspected driver has fled to'. Print Edition | Subscribe