Barcelona van attacker plotted several other major bombings, hears Spanish Court; read briefly here!
Source : NewsBharatiDate : 23-Aug-2017
Madrid, August 23: An Islamist militant cell that last week used a van to kill 13 people in Barcelona had planned one or several major bomb attacks, possibly against churches or monuments, one suspect told a court on Tuesday.
They said the group was led by an imam who tutored its members, mainly young Moroccans, in jihad (holy war) and told them "martyrdom is a good thing, according to the Koran," Mohamed Houli Chemlal told a Spanish High Court judge.
After a day-long hearing of four suspects in the plot, Judge Fernando Andreu late on Tuesday ordered Chemlal and a second defendant, Driss Oukabir, remanded on charges of membership of a terrorist group and murder. Chemlal was also charged with explosives possession.
A third suspect, Salh El Karib, who ran an internet cafe in a northeastern Spanish town where most of the alleged members of the cell lived, will remain in police custody for now pending further investigation. The fourth man, Mohamed Aalla, was released on certain conditions. Chemlal was the only one of the four suspects who admitted a role in the plot, the sources said. The other three all denied involvement.
Police on Monday shot dead 22-year-old Younes Abouyaaqoub, whom they had identified as the driver of the van that careered along the packed Las Ramblas promenade in Barcelona last Thursday, killing 13 people and injuring 120 others from 34 countries.
Islamic State claimed responsibility for the van attack and a separate deadly assault, hours later, in the coastal resort of Cambrils, south of Barcelona. In Cambrils, a car rammed passersby before its occupants got out and tried to stab people. The five assailants, who were wearing what turned out to be fake explosive belts, were all shot dead by police, while a Spanish woman died in the attack.
Police say the imam suspected of leading the militant cell, Abdelbaki Es Satty, died a day before the Barcelona attack when a house the group was using to build bombs blew up.
According to Judge Andreu's court order, in the ruins of the house in Alcanar, southwest of Barcelona, police found several plane tickets to Brussels in Es Satty's name issued by the Spanish airline Vueling.