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5TH LEAD Report: Driver in Barcelona attack was killed in Cambrils shoot-out By Carola Frentzen and Alvise Armellini, dpa

Europe
18.08.2017
By our dpa-correspondent and Europe Online    auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
Barcelona (dpa) - The man suspected of carrying out the Barcelona van attack was shot early Friday along with other terrorists in Cambrils, newspaper El Pais and other media reported Friday, citing police sources.

The reports did not name the suspect or other details. Spanish media, citing sources close to the investigation, had previously named Moussa Oukabir, aged 17 or 18, as the chief suspect.

Thirteen people were killed and more than 100 others injured when a driver ploughed a rented van through crowds of people in Las Ramblas, a popular thoroughfare in the centre of Barcelona, late Thursday. Five of the deceased have still not been identified.

Hours later, another vehicle hit pedestrians in the seaside resort of Cambrils, killing one person. The Catalan town lies about 100 kilometres south-west of Barcelona, and police have said the two attacks were linked.

Catalan police chief Josep Lluis Trapero had cautioned that the Barcelona attacker could have been one the suspects killed in a shoot-out with officers in Cambrils.

Five suspects were shot dead by police in Cambrils after they ran their car into pedestrians early Friday.

Four people have been arrested in connection with both attacks, the deadliest in the country since the 2004 Madrid train bombings, which left 192 people dead.

The Islamic State extremist group claimed responsibility for the Barcelona attack through its mouthpiece, the Amaq news agency.

Three of the suspects in custody are Moroccan nationals. One is a Spaniard from Melilla, a Spanish enclave in Morocco. All are aged between 21 and 34, and none have a previous history of terror-related crimes, police said.

Catalan police chief Josep Lluis Trapero said the attacks had been planned "for some time."

With Spain in the midst of three days of mourning, Barcelona staged a moment of silence led by Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and King Felipe VI at noon (1000 GMT).

Afterwards, the crowd on Barcelona‘s central Plaza Catalunya broke into a long round of applause and shouts of "I‘m not afraid."

Spain is fighting a "global battle" against terrorism, Rajoy said, adding that the battle is "not only against us, but against all the countries that defend democracy, freedom and human rights."

Catalan police said the five attackers in Cambrils were carrying an ax and knives in the car and were wearing fake explosives attached to their bodies.

One police officer killed four of the five suspects.

The attack in Cambrils began after police tried to carry out a check on the car. The Audi A3 then took aim at pedestrians as the police followed in pursuit. The car overturned and the men were shot dead as they tried to flee.

The perpetrators of the double attack are part of a single terrorist cell, Spanish media reported.

One of the four people arrested was reported by Spanish media to be Driss Oukabir, a brother of suspected Barcelona driver Moussa.

The suspects were taken into custody in the Catalan towns of Ripoll and Alcanar.

Police said the violence on Thursday and Friday may have had its origins in a Wednesday explosion in a building in Alcanar, a town about 200 kilometres south of Barcelona.

The remains of two people were found after the blast. Initially, authorities had reported only one body, but, according to media reports, further investigation showed "biological remains" indicated the presence of a second person.

The blast was initially blamed on a gas leak. But police later linked it to a terrorist plot.

The head of the Catalan police force said that the incident threw the suspected terrorists‘ plans - which might have included a bombing - into disarray, forcing them to proceed "in a more rudimentary way" than originally foreseen.

 

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