Morocco arrests two suspects over Barcelona attack

Moroccan authorities arrest two people suspected of links to terrorists behind van attack in Barcelona.

Elad Benari,

Barcelona attack
Barcelona attack
Reuters

Moroccan authorities have arrested two people suspected of links to the alleged perpetrators of the van attack that killed 13 people in Barcelona last week, Reuters reported on Tuesday, citing a Moroccan television channel.

One of the men, a 28-year-old detained in the Nador, close to the Spanish enclave of Melilla, lived for 12 years in Barcelona and is suspected of links to Islamic State (ISIS) and of plotting to attack the Spanish embassy in Rabat, the channel reported. It gave no details of the alleged plot.

No direct link has been identified between the suspect and the cell of mainly young Moroccans behind the Barcelona attack, but he had celebrated the attack on Facebook, the report said.

A second suspect was arrested in the town of Oujda, close to Morocco's border with Algeria. He was a resident of Ripoll, the small town in northeastern Spain where many members of the cell were living.

Both suspects were arrested on Sunday, according to the report. Moroccan officials did not respond to requests for comment.

Spanish security forces on Monday killed Younes Abouyaaquoub, the suspected driver of the van which rammed into a crowd of pedestrians in the busy Las Ramblas boulevard in Barcelona.

Abouyaaqoub fled the scene of the attack on foot. He stole a vehicle and stabbed the driver to death. When he reached a police checkpoint he escaped from the vehicle. The authorities had been unable to locate him following his escape until Monday.

Authorities feared that Abouyaaqoub had fled to France, and the search for him had been extended to all European nations.

Islamic State (ISIS) claimed responsibility for the van attack and a separate attack, hours later, in the coastal resort of Cambrils, south of Barcelona.

Police have said that the imam suspected of leading the terror cell, Abdelbaki Es Satty, died when a house the group was using to build bombs blew up a day before the Barcelona attack.

Earlier on Tuesday, a suspected member of the terror cell responsible for the Spain attacks admitted to a judge that the jihadists had planned to hit monuments in an even bigger attack.


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