Barcelona Attack: Police hunting van driver shoot suspect dead
Police hunting the van driver behind the Barcelona terror attack say they have shot dead a suspect wearing what appeared to be a suicide belt.
Local media said the dead man was Younes Abouyaaqoub, the 22-year-old Moroccan wanted for the Las Ramblas outrage.
He was cornered in Subirats, about 30 miles west of Barcelona, on Monday.
Thirteen people were killed in the attack in Barcelona on Thursday, including seven-year-old British boy Julian Cadman.
Joaquim Forn, head of home affairs in Catalonia’s regional government, said earlier on Monday that “everything indicates” Abouyaaqoub was behind the wheel.
Police have revealed that he stole a car and killed its owner as he made his getaway after fleeing the carnage in Las Ramblas on foot.
He had been the only at-large member of the 12-strong terror cell behind the attacks in Barcelona on Thursday and in the seaside town of Cambrils early on Friday.
One person was killed in the Cambrils attack, in which terrorists wearing fake suicide belts drove an Audi A3 into pedestrians.
All five were shot by police, with four dying at the scene and the fifth later from his injuries.
Police revealed on Monday that Abouyaaqoub walked around Barcelona for about 90 minutes after the van attack before hijacking a Ford Focus, stabbing its owner, Pau Perez, and driving away with his body still inside.
Abouyaaqoub rammed the car through a police checkpoint on Friday night then dumped the vehicle two miles away but he had fled by the time police found it with Mr Perez’s body stills inside.
Four other suspects have been arrested and at least two extremists died on Wednesday in an explosion at a house in Alcanar, where explosives were being prepared.
Police believe the explosion in Alcanar prevented the terror cell from carrying out what would have been a far deadlier attack.
Police are reportedly probing claims the cell was radicalised by an imam with links to the Madrid train bombers and an area in Belgium known as a hotspot for Islamic State recruiting.
Spanish newspaper El Pais said Abdelbaki Es Satty was imam at one of the two mosques in Ripoll, in the north-east of Spain near to the French border and around 62 miles from Barcelona.
All of the main suspects are believed to have lived in the small town.
Es Satty was reportedly friends with some of those jailed of the Madrid train bombings in 2004, having spent four years in prison himself for drug trafficking and breaking Spanish immigration laws, the newspaper said.
He had also spent several months looking for work in the Vilvoorde district north of Brussels, in Belgium, the region’s mayor Hans Bonte told Belgian newspaper De Morgen.
Police are investigating his role in radicalising the younger members of the cell before he was reportedly killed in the explosion in Alcanar, 124 miles south of Barcelona.
Some 34 nationalities were among those wounded in the attacks in Las Ramblas and Cambrils, around 70 miles to the south west of Barcelona.
Victims of the atrocity in Barcelona have been identified as British/Australian, Italian, Portuguese, Belgian, Spanish, Spanish/Argentine, Canadian and American.
Julian Cadman, a dual British-Australian national, was separated from his mother on Las Ramblas during the massacre.
His family said on Sunday: “He was so energetic, funny and cheeky, always bringing a smile to our faces.”