Hunt is on for Barcelona killers
Police fear attackers who are still at large could be planning further strikes
A HUGE manhunt was under way across Europe last night for at least one jihadist feared to be still at large after the Barcelona terrorist attacks.
Police and security services were searching for the remaining members of a Moroccan-born terror cell amid fears that they could be preparing further atrocities at popular tourist areas.
Authorities announced that the 17-year-old key suspect of the Barcelona outrage, Moussa Oukabir, was one of five terrorists shot dead by police in an attack on the coastal resort of Cambrils in the early hours of yesterday.
However, adding to the confused response, the Catalonia police chief later said that Oukabir may still be at large.
Said Aalla, 18, and Mohamed Hychami, 24, were also named among those shot dead. Four other suspects were taken into custody.
Police were last night continuing to appeal for information on Younes Abouyaaqoub, 22. There were also reports that two further suspects were being sought.
French security said Spanish police were looking for a Renault Kangoo van rented on Thursday in Spain by the suspects that may have crossed into France.
Security officials believe the attacks on Barcelona and Cambrils were the work of a terror cell of at least 12 people. On Thursday afternoon, Ouka- bir and his associates drove a van along Barcelona’s crowded Las Ramblas thoroughfare, ploughing into tourists, leaving 13 dead and more than 100 injured.
Among those thought to have been killed was a seven-year-old British boy, who had been visiting Barcelona for a family wedding. Julian Cadman, who was born in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, but later moved to Australia, had been on Las Ramblas with his mother, Jumarie, when they were mown down.
Mrs Cadman was last night understood to be in an induced coma, unaware that her son was missing, feared dead. Her husband, Andrew, who had been unable to attend the Catalonian wedding and had stayed at home in Sydney, boarded a flight to Barcelona and was due to land late last night.
Among the other victims was an Italian tourist, Luca Rosso, who was hit as he strolled through the streets with his fiancée. Another Italian, Bruno Gulotta, 35, a father of two, was killed in front of his wife and children.
After carrying out the attack, Oukabir is believed to have fled on foot, before hijacking a Ford Focus car, stabbing the driver and jumping a checkpoint, in order to escape. It is believed he then went to the coastal resort of Cambrils, where he met up with four fellow jihadists.
Driving an Audi A3, they travelled at speed along the town’s promenade but crashed and flipped the car.
The jihadists left the vehicle and started to attack terrified onlookers with knives and axes. All of the jihadists were shot dead by police who were on the scene as part of heightened security following the Barcelona attack.
Despite his role as ringleader in the attacks, it is not thought that Oukabir was previously known to the security services. But social media accounts reputed to be linked to him contained a series of Islamist comments. In one post, when asked what he would do on his first day as absolute ruler of the world, he replied: “Kill all infidels and only allow Muslims to continue the religion.”
His older brother, Driss, 28, was among four men who were being held on suspicion of involvement in the atrocities.
A huge explosion at a house in the town of Alcanar, 120 miles south of Barcelona, in which one man died, was connected with the attacks.
Police who searched the remains of the property discovered a large number of gas canisters which they believe were intended to be packed into a vehicle and driven into crowds. Police chief Josep Lluis Trapero said they were planning “a much bigger atrocity” than the one that took place.
Yesterday, Mariano Rajoy, the Spanish prime minister, King Felipe VI and Carles Puigdemont, the president of Catalonia – where both attacks took place – held a minute’s silence in Barcelona. It was followed by the crowd shouting “not afraid”.
Julian Cadman, 7, is missing feared dead