Spain: Barcelona van attack suspect shot dead
Pedro Gonzalez, Business Contributor
Barcelona, Spain (BBC) — Police hunting the chief suspect in last Thursday's Barcelona van attack have shot dead a man to the west of the city who appeared to be wearing an explosive belt, Spanish media say.
Moroccan-born Younes Abouyaaqoub was confronted in Subirats, Spain, by police. Local media reports Abouyaaqoub shouted “Allahu Akbar" and was wearing a bomb belt, before being shot and killed by police.
Abouyaaqoub was the driver of a van that plowed into a busy tourist center in Barcelona, killing 15 pedestrians and injuring more than 120 others, an attack for which the Islamic State claimed responsibility.
In an interview with the AP, Roser Ventura is reported to have contacted the police when they witnessed a suspicious vehicle crossing through their property at high speed: “The police told us to leave the premises and go home. We heard a helicopter flying around and many police cars coming toward the gas station that is some 600 meters from the property.”
Abouyaaqoub lived in Vilvoorde, Belgium, last year for three months, a small town from which more than 20 jihadists departed for Syria in 2014.
Spanish media outlets reported that Abouyaaqoub had spent time in prison, where he encountered prisoners linked to the 2004 Madrid train bombings in which 191 people died.
Per Reuters, Abouyaaqoub is one 12 suspects still at large. Four people have been arrested so far in connection with the attacks: three Moroccans and a citizen of Spain's North African enclave of Melilla.
According to his family, Abouyaaqoub began showing more Islamic fundamentalist behavior within the past year, such as refusing to shake hands with women during a visit to his hometown last March. The frequency in terror attacks has correlated with an unprecedented increase immigration from North Africa, where Spain maintains two enclaves in Melilla and Ceuta.
For the Gatestone Institute, Soren Kern writes:
On August 7, more than 300 mostly sub-Saharan Africans ambushed Spanish and Moroccan security forces and stormed the border crossing at El Tarajal; 186 migrants made it onto Spanish territory. On August 8, more than a thousand migrants armed with spears and rocks attempted to breach the same crossing. On August 9, Spanish authorities closed the border for a week. On August 10, around 700 migrants stormedthe border; 200 migrants were arrested.
Among those killed in Abouyaaqoub’s attack in Barcelona was an American citizen from Northern California, 42-year-old Jared Tucker. His father, Dan Tucker, said: “He had a magnetic personality and people loved him.”