Alleged terrorists arrested over Barcelona attacks prepare to face court

Andy Wells
Freelance Writer
Spanish Civil Guards escort one of four men accused of involvement in an Islamist cell behind the Barcelona terrorist attacks (Reuters)

Four men who are alleged to be part of a terrorist cell that killed 15 people in last week’s Barcelona attacks are due in court today.

The men were arrested last week for their alleged involvement in the planning or execution of attacks in Barcelona on Thursday and the north-eastern resort town of Cambrils early on Friday.

Spanish media have named the suspects as Driss Oukabir, Mohammed Aalla, Salh el Karib and Mohamed Houli Chemal but their identities have not yet been confirmed by police.

The four were arrested following the attacks last week (Reuters)

Their court appearance in Madrid comes one day after police shot dead 22-year-old Younes Abouyaaqoub, the van driver responsible for the deaths in Barcelona.

National Court Judge Fernando Andreu will now decide whether the men should be kept in custody or released, with or without conditions.

The four were arrested following the attacks – three in the northern Catalan town of Ripoll and another in Alcanar, south of Barcelona, where a house that was destroyed in an accidental explosion turned out to be a botched bomb-making workshop.

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Van driver Abouyaaqoub was shot dead on Monday after he flashed what turned out to be a fake suicide belt at two troopers who confronted him in a vineyard not far from the city he terrorised.

Police said they had “scientific evidence” that the fugitive was driving the van that barrelled through Barcelona’s crowded Las Ramblas promenade, killing 13 people on Thursday, then hijacked a car and fatally stabbed its driver while making his getaway.

Abouyaaqoub’s brother and friends made up the rest of the 12-man extremist cell, along with an imam who was one of two people killed in the Alcanar house.

Van driver Younes Abouyaaqoub was shot dead by police on Monday (PA)

Police said that with Abouyaaqoub’s death, the group responsible for last week’s fatal van attacks has now been broken.

Five of the 12 suspects were shot dead by police in the seaside town of Cambrils, where a second van attack left one pedestrian dead hours after the Barcelona van attack.

The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for both the Cambrils and Barcelona attacks.