Barcelona Attack: New Manhunt for Suspected Driver

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Thought at first to be 18-year-old Moussa Oukabir, the suspected driver of the white van that plowed into a crowd in Barcelona on Thursday may still be alive and on the run.

Timeline of events:

  • Wednesday

Alcanar – An explosion ripped through a house, killing one person. Police said it appeared the residents had been “preparing an explosive device” in the residence, believed to be the suspects’ base.

  • Thursday

Barcelona – A white Fiat van drove down Las Ramblas in central Barcelona, killing 13 people and injuring more than 100.

Vic – Police found a second van, thought to be a getaway vehicle linked to the Las Ramblas attack.

Sant Just Desvern – A car drove into officers at a checkpoint. A man, not believed to be linked to the Las Ramblas attack, was found dead in the car.

Ripoll – One suspect arrested.

Alcanar – One suspect arrested.

  • Friday

Cambrils – A second vehicle attack where police killed five terrorist suspects said to be linked to the Las Ramblas attack.

Ripoll – Two more suspects arrested.

  • Saturday

Ripoll – One suspect arrested.

Police are hunting for Moroccan-born Younes Abouyaaqoub, 22, named by Spanish media as the suspected driver and mastermind. He lived in the town of Ripoll to the north of Barcelona.

A teenager previously reported as the key suspect, Moussa Oukabir, was one of five men killed by police after a later attack in Cambris. The men were wearing what appeared to be explosive belts, police say, but these proved to be fake.

Three of the five deceased attackers in Cambrils were named: Said Aallaa, 18, Mohamed Hychami, 24, and Oukabir.

Oukabir’s brother Driss reportedly turned himself in, telling police in Ripoll that he was not involved and that his documents had been stolen, allegedly by his teen brother.

Police have so far arrested five people – two in Ripoll and Alcanar on Thursday, two in Ripoll on Friday and another also in Ripoll today.

Some information has been released only on the first four suspects – three were Moroccan citizens and another was Spanish; their ages ranged from 21 to 34, and none of them were on the radar for terrorism.

Police say the suspects had been planning more sophisticated attacks.

Teenage jihadist

Police this morning raided the home of Moussa Oukabir. The Moroccan lived with his mother, Fatima Ouhnine, and two sisters, Fahima and Hanane, in the modest ground floor flat of a four-storey block on the outskirts of Ripoll.

Having separated from his mother, his father Said Oukabir does not live with the family anymore while his elder brother Driss lives with his girlfriend.

Neighbours reacted with shock that a terrorist suspect had lived quietly in their midst.

Described as a quiet family with nothing remarkable about them, they were not known to be particularly religious.

“I don’t ever remember seeing Moussa at the mosque,” a neighbour said.

Apparently, football-mad Oukabir studied IT.

Mob rage

Meanwhile, police had to protect a terror suspect from a mob of angry citizens after he was arrested a short distance from Moussa’s home in Ripoll.

The suspect, named locally as Salh el-Karib, was lead out of the second storey of a flat in the centre of town with a blanket over his head.

A 50-strong group of enraged citizens cursed and threatened him as he was lead to a waiting police van.

The crowd shouted: “Son of a b****. You will die for what you did in Barcelona. We know where you live. You have nowhere to hide.”


Earlier report: Aug 18, What Is Known So Far About Terror Attacks in Spain