Remembering Victims of Barcelona Attacks


Remembering Victims of Barcelona Attacks

Spain's King Felipe and Queen Letizia on Sunday joined Spanish and Portuguese political leaders at architect Antoni Gaudi's famous Sagrada Familia church, for a mass in honour of the victims of the Barcelona van attack at Las Ramblas.

Meanwhile, authorities were continuing to search for Younes Abouyaaqoub, 22, who is suspected of driving the van in Barcelona.

The royal couple also spoke to numerous victims offering words of comfort and support as they heard the details of their ordeal as a van ploughed into the crowd on Las Ramblas, Barcelona's most popular thoroughfare.

An extensive operation including roadblocks was deployed across Catalonia yesterday afternoon, police said, urging people not to disclose information about the checkpoints.

The van attack was followed by a vehicle attack in the seaside town of Cambrils that left one person dead. "Las Ramblas will be back to everyone".

"People are coming here like they are seeking comfort from others", said Sergio Lopez, 36, whose family runs a kiosk on the main tourist thoroughfare. All Spain is Barcelona.

The so-called "Islamic State" (IS) has claimed responsibility for the Barcelona attack and a second attack in Cambrils where five men wearing fake suicide belts drove an Audi A3 into crowds on the seafront.

Authorities in Spain say the terror cell behind two deadly attacks in the country has been "dismantled", but what is known about it?

Investigators have been homing in on the small town of Ripoll, at the foot of the Pyrenees, where numerous suspects - including Abouyaaqoub - lived.

Police believe imam Abdelbaki Es Satty radicalised the young men in the extremist cell, which may have accidently blown up a house in the quiet seaside town of Alcanar with the explosive material it was collecting.

A waiter at a Ripoll cafe told AFP he had served beers to some of the suspects numerous times, most recently just two days ago. Moussa Oukabir's older brother, Driss Oukabir, is reported to be one of those detained.

She said: "It is deeply upsetting when innocent people are put at risk in this way when going about their daily lives".

Police said they believed the suspects were planning a much larger attack.

Security forces were seen removing dozens of gas canisters from the house in Alcanar on Friday. He said border checks were beefed up immediately after the attacks. The royal couple is expected to visit the place of the attack on Barcelona's central La Rambla pedestrian mall later on Saturday.

The victims of the terrorist attacks in Catalonia are of 34 nationalities, the Catalan emergencies service said Friday. Another person was killed hours later in a similar attack farther south on the coast in Cambrils.