MS Risk Blog

Spain beset again by Jihadi terrorism

Posted on in Spain, Terrorism title_rule

Spain suffered last Thursday 17 August the largest terrorist attack since 11-M, which left 192 dead and 2,057 injured. A double attack shook the cities of Barcelona and Cambrils (Tarragona).

The first attack took place at 16:50 on La Rambla, Barcelona’s most tourist and commercial street. A van hurled itself against the pedestrians and ran for 500 meters running over in a zigzag. The driver and author of the attack, Younes Abouyaaqoub, fled through La Boqueria market, whose multiple entrances and exits served him to sneak out and remain on the run until Monday, when he was discovered thanks to citizen collaboration in an area of vineyards in Subirats, where he was shot down by the police after pouncing on them with a false explosive vest.

The second attack occurred at one in the morning in the town of Cambrils, Tarragona. A car with five people escaped a police control, running over six civilians and wounding a policeman; the occupants then left the vehicle to continue their slaughter using knives, an axe and wearing fake explosive vests, but four of them were instantly shot down by the police, while the fifth ran part of the boardwalk stabbing several passers-by before being dejected.

The attacks have resulted in the death of 15 people and more than a hundred wounded. Among the dead are six Spanish citizens, three Italians, two Portuguese, one American, one Belgian, one Canadian and one Australian. Among the wounded are citizens of 34 nationalities from different parts of the globe. The events have been linked to an explosion that occurred in the early hours of Wednesday to Thursday in the town of Alcanar, Tarragona, in which a house was destroyed and later it was discovered that the cause was the accidental explosion of 120 gas bottles the terrorists were going to use as an explosive to attack the basilica of the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona.

The police investigation determined that the attacks were linked to each other and were planned by a terrorist cell composed of 12 people, which has been dismantled this week. Four terrorists are in detention, five died in Cambrils, the author of the Barcelona attack died in Subirats, and two bodies were found among the debris of the Alcanar house.

The Islamic State claimed responsibility for both attacks on the same day, and the investigation points to the imam of the Ripoll mosque, Abdelbaki Es Satty, who died in Alcanar, as the ideologue of the attacks and the culprit of radicalizing the other members of the cell, all young people between 17 and 34 years. Es Satty had already gone through prison for drug trafficking and had friends involved in the 11-M bombings in Madrid. The imam gathered the youths he considered most prone to radicalization outside the mosque, and shortly before the bombings disappeared altogether.

With the death of Younes Abouyaaqoub and the dismantling of the terrorist cell, the most urgent tasks of the anti-terrorist unit are put to an end, but the police keep the investigation open, as there are many questions surrounding the case. Among them, the reason why Abouyaaqoub went to the town of Subirats, where he was seen whistling near a house in which formerly lived a family of Moroccan origin; a trip to Paris carried out by four members of the cell five days before the attacks, or the reason why no one noticed that they were occupying the house of Alcanar, seized by a bank, and that served as the place to prepare the attacks.

Condolences to the largest terrorist attack in Spain since 11-M came from all over the world, Donald Trump, Barack Obama, Theresa May, Angela Merkel, Enrique Peña Nieto, Emmanuel Macron, Pope Francis, Justin Trudeau, Vladimir Putin, the King of Morocco, Mohamed VI, and many others sent their condolences to the victims of the attacks, which follow the trail of other attacks in other European cities such as Berlin, London, Nice, Paris or Stockholm, and whose victims belong to nationalities from all over the world, which has made Barcelona the world capital against terrorism.