Spanish Intelligence Knew of Terror Cell Ahead of Barcelona Attack, Say Reports

Imam who masterminded the 2017 strike had been acting as an informant. The day after the Barcelona and Cambrils attacks, the intelligence file on the imam was reportedly wiped out.

By Guy Hedgecoe and cross-posted from The Irish Times

Spain’s intelligence service was closely monitoring a group of terrorists just days before they carried out deadly jihadist attacks in Barcelona two years ago, according to reports.

Fourteen people died after Younes Abouyaaquob drove a van into pedestrians on the Ramblas boulevard in Barcelona, on August 17th, 2017. As he fled from the scene, Abouyaaquob fatally stabbed another man before five members of the same terror cell drove into and killed a pedestrian in the Catalan town of Cambrils later that day. All six terrorists were eventually shot dead by police.

The fallout from the attacks led to tensions between the Spanish and Catalan governments over the handling of the situation and recriminations over how possible clues ahead of the attacks had been managed.

But the news site Público has now published information and documents that appear to show that the CNI national intelligence service was closely monitoring several of the terrorists in the build-up to the attacks. The documents, provided by the intelligence service to investigators, show that the CNI had details of trips several of the terrorists made to Switzerland, Germany, France and Belgium in December 2016, as well as information gleaned from phone conversations they had up until five days before the attacks

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