Europe News

Factbox: The investigation into Barcelona attack

BARCELONA (Reuters) - Spanish police are hunting for a fugitive member of a suspected Islamist militant cell after a van attack in Barcelona on Thursday and another attack in the resort of Cambrils on Friday, which killed 14 people. Police did not rule out the possibility that the suspect could have crossed into France.

Pilar Revilla, 75, gets emotional after hugging a Catalan Mossos d'Esquadra officer after visiting an impromptu memorial where a van crashed into pedestrians at Las Ramblas in Barcelona, Spain, August 20, 2017. REUTERS/Susana Vera


Thursday, Aug. 17 - Van enters Las Ramblas in Barcelona at about 4.50 p.m. (1450 GMT) and plows into crowd of tourists and local people. Thirteen are killed. Dead and injured include citizens of 34 countries. Driver flees on foot.

Also on Thursday, police fire at a car that failed to stop at a roadblock in Barcelona. The car’s owner, a Spanish man, is found dead with knife wounds. Officials believe the driver of the car, who fled, may be connected to the Barcelona attack.

Friday, Aug. 18 - Police shoot dead five people in Cambrils, 120 km (75 miles) down the coast from Barcelona, after they drove their car at pedestrians and police officers. A Spanish woman is killed. The five assailants had an axe and knives in their car and wore fake explosive belts.


Police believe the attackers are linked to a house in Alcanar, southwest of Barcelona, destroyed by an explosion on Wednesday. Police say they have identified two people from the remains found in the house.

Police believe the house was used to plan one or more large-scale attacks in Barcelona, possibly using a stock of more than 100 gas canisters stored there.

The apparently accidental explosion at the house forced the conspirators to scale down their plans and to hurriedly carry out more “rudimentary” attacks, police say.


Police working on hypothesis 12 suspects were involved in the attacks.

Five have been killed in Cambrils: Moussa Oukabir, Said Aallaa, Mohamed Hychami, Omar Hychami and Houssaine Abouyaaqoub.

Four are under arrest: Driss Oukabir, who turned himself in to the police saying he was innocent, Mohamed Aallaa, owner of the car used in Cambrils, Salah el Karib, manager of an internet cafe in Ripoll, and Mohamed Houli Chemlal, injured in the Alcanar blast.

Two are believed to have died in the Alcanar blast: the former imam of Ripoll Abdelbaki Es Satty and Youssef Aallaa.

One is believed to be on the run: Younes Abouyaaqoub.

Police say none has a history of terrorism-related activities.


Spanish police say security operations are continuing as they try to find Abouyaaqoub. They do not rule out the possibility that he has crossed into France.

Spanish media reported that Abouyaaqoub was the driver of the van in Barcelona but the police could not confirm it.

Compiled by Adrian Croft and Julien Toyer; Editing by Andrew Bolton