Barcelona attack: Royals attend special Mass for victims

King Felipe and Queen Letizia have attended Barcelona’s famous Sagrada Familia to mourn the 14 people killed in vehicle attacks in Catalonia.

Police are still hunting the driver of a van that killed 13 at Barcelona’s Las Ramblas. A 14th victim died in a second attack at Cambrils.

Ministers say the jihadist cell behind the attacks has been dismantled.

But police are still hunting for the van driver and an imam missing from a mosque in the town of Ripoll.

Sunday’s special Mass was celebrated at the iconic, Gaudi-designed Sagrada Familia.

Some reports in Spanish media say the jihadist cell had intended to target the church with explosives.

PM Mariano Rajoy also attended the Mass, where there was tight security, with snipers on rooftops outside.

Cardinal Juan José Omella, the Archbishop of Barcelona, called for peace and unity, saying: “We will overcome fear.”

He read a message from Pope Francis, which said the pontiff “condemns once again the violence, which is a very grave offence against the creator, and he prays to God for help so we can continue working for peace and harmony in the world”.

Cardinal Omella also said at the Mass, in fiercely independent Catalonia: “The union makes us strong, the division corrodes us and destroys us.”

On Saturday, the royal couple laid a wreath at the site of the attack at Las Ramblas, accompanied by Barcelona Mayor Ada Colau and Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont.

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Later on Sunday, Barcelona FC will hold their first league game of the season, with 100,000 expected at the Camp Nou, where there will be a minute’s silence.

On Saturday, Interior Minister Juan Ignacio Zoido said the jihadist cell behind the attacks, believed to be about 12 strong, had been fully dismantled, despite the continuing search for the driver.

Catalan Interior Minster Joaquim Forn was more circumspect, stressing that the police operation could not be considered over until all those suspected of being part of the cell were in custody.

Moroccan-born Younes Abouyaaqoub, 22, believed to be the van driver who escaped after the Barcelona attack, remains the focus of the manhunt.

However, there is also a search for an imam of the mosque at Ripoll, the town north of Barcelona where a number of the suspected cell members came from.

The apartment of the imam, Abdelbaki Es Satty, was raided on Saturday.

The imam apparently left the mosque abruptly in June and has not been seen since. The mosque president said he had told him he wanted to go back to Morocco.

Police sources and Spanish media say Mr Es Satty may have died in an explosion at a house in Alcanar, south of Barcelona, on Wednesday night.

Catalonia police say the cell was preparing a much larger attack and the house may have been a bomb factory.

Police have remove dozens of gas canisters from the house and have carried out controlled explosions.

El Pais says police have found biological remains of at least three people in the house but their identities are yet to be determined.


Who are the suspects?

So-called Islamic State (IS) said it had carried out the Las Ramblas attack, though it is not clear whether any of the attackers were directly connected to the group or simply inspired by it.

  • Killed: Five suspected jihadists shot dead by police in Cambrils – Moussa Oukabir, 17; Said Aallaa, 18; Mohamed Hychami, 24; Omar Hychami; Houssaine Abouyaaqoub
  • Arrested: Three in the town of Ripoll – Driss Oukabir, 28, the brother of Moussa, who turned himself in saying his documents had been stolen to rent vehicles used in the Las Ramblas attack; Sahal el-Karib, 34; Mohammed Aallaa, 27. Mohamed Houli Chemlal was arrested in Alcanar following the house explosion there on Wednesday
  • Hunted: Younes Abouyaaqoub, now suspected to be the driver in the Las Ramblas attack. Youssef Aallaa, the brother of Said. Abdelbaki Es Satty, an imam of Ripoll. However, the latter pair may have died in the house explosion in Alcanar

The Muslim community of Ripoll has condemned the attacks.

A notice posted on a Ripoll mosque said: “Faced with this criminal act, the Annour Islamic Community of Ripoll reiterates its complete commitment to the fight against any form of terrorism, and we hope that those responsible for this attack are arrested and taken before a judge as soon as possible.”

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Catalan police have set up major roadblocks throughout the region, warning people there may be significant travel disruption.

But Mr Zoido said the nation’s current alert level would not be raised as there was no warning of another imminent attack.

Thursday’s attack in the Catalan capital saw a van driven at high speed along Las Ramblas where it smashed into dozens of people walking along the pedestrianised avenue popular with tourists and residents.

Hours later, early on Friday, there was a second van attack in Cambrils, west of Barcelona. A woman was killed and police shot dead five suspected jihadists.

What do we know about the victims?

These names of the dead have so far been released:

  • American Jared Tucker, 43
  • Belgian Elke Vanbockrijck, 44
  • Spanish-Argentine Silvina Alejandra Pereyra, 40
  • Argentine Carmen Lopardo, 80
  • Spaniard Pepita Codina, 75
  • Canadian Ian Moore Wilson
  • Spaniard Francisco López Rodríguez, 57. A three-year-old relative with him also died
  • Italian Bruno Gulotta, 35
  • Italian Luca Russo, 25
  • Spaniard Ana María Suárez. Died in the Cambrils attack

Two unnamed Portuguese nationals are also confirmed dead.

Media playback is unsupported on your device

The whereabouts of seven-year-old Julian Cadman, a dual British-Australian national apparently separated from his injured mother during the attack, remains unclear. He was widely reported to be missing.

However, the Catalan police, responding to inquiries, tweeted that they had neither been looking for nor found any missing child. The victims and the injured had all been located, they said.

The latest breakdown from Catalan emergency services on the injured reads:

  • Barcelona attack: 13 critical, 20 serious, 14 less serious, 2 minor
  • Cambrils attack: 2 serious, 2 less serious

More on the victims


Timeline of events

  • Alcanar, Wednesday evening: An explosion rips through a house in the small town, 200km south of Barcelona. One person confirmed dead, though up to three may have died. Police chief Josep Lluis Trapero said it appeared the residents at the house had been “preparing an explosive device”. A Catalan government official says a cell may have intended to use gas canisters in the Las Ramblas attack
  • Barcelona, Thursday 16:50 (14:50 GMT): A white Fiat van drives down Las Ramblas in central Barcelona, killing 13 people and injuring scores. The driver flees on foot
  • Vic, Thursday 18:30: Police find a second van, thought to be a getaway vehicle, in the town, 80km north of Barcelona
  • Sant Just Desvern, Thursday 19:30: A car is driven towards officers at a checkpoint on the outskirts of Barcelona. They open fire. A man is later found dead in the passenger seat of the car with stab wounds. The dead man is not linked to the Las Ramblas attack, officials say, but investigations are ongoing. One theory is that the car was stolen and the man was killed by the carjacker, who is still at large
  • Cambrils, Friday 01:00: A second vehicle attack takes place in the resort south of Barcelona. Police kill five terrorist suspects said to be linked to the Las Ramblas attack. They include Moussa Oukabir, 17, initially thought to be the Las Ramblas attacker. Police later say another man, Younes Abouyaaqoub, is being hunted.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

BBC News – Home