Barcelona attack van driver shot dead by police

Police have shot dead a suspect who they believe could be the driver of the van in Las Ramblas attack.

Barcelona attack van driver shot dead by police
Images of the suspect released by the police on Monday. Photo: Mossos

Police confirm that they have shot dead a suspect in Subirats, a village nestled in vineyards 50km west of Barcelona and that it is Younes abouyaaqoub, the man alleged to have been the driver of a van that mowed down crowds in Barcelona.

He was wearing what appeared to be explosives on a suicide belt and was shot dead by officers on a road near an unmanned service station, an hour's drive from Barcelona.

17:05 La persona sospechosa de #Subirats lleva adherido al cuerpo el que parece un cinturón de explosivos. El individuo ha sido abatido

— Mossos (@mossos) August 21, 2017

The Catalan police  said they sent in a robot from the bomb detection squad to check all was clear before they were able to approach the body to confirm his identity.

Reports in national media claim that police received a call from a resident in Subirats who reported the suspect's whereabouts.

A manhunt had been ongoing for the 22-year-old Moroccan born man after images were released of him making his getaway after carrying out Las Ramblas attack which killed 13 people and left dozens injured.

El Pais published the images caught on CCTV on their website on Monday morning. 

Interior confirma que Younes Abouyaaqoub era el terrorista que conducía la furgoneta de La Rambla

— EL PAÍS (@el_pais) August 21, 2017

The 22-year-old Moroccan is believed to be the last remaining member of a 12-person cell still at large in Spain or abroad, with the others killed by police or detained over last week's twin attacks in Barcelona and the seaside resort of Cambrils.

He was described as “dangerous and possibly armed,” by police in Catalonia on Monday.

The regional police force, Los Mossos tweeted four pictures of Moroccan national Younes Abouyaaqoub wearing a striped top and with short, dark hair, and asked the public to “share as much (information) as possible.”


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The suspects accidentally caused an explosion at the house on the eve of Thursday's attack in Barcelona — an error that likely forced them to modify their plans.

Instead, they used a vehicle to smash into crowds on Barcelona's Las Ramblas boulevard as it was thronged with tourists, killing 13 people and injuring about 100.

Several hours later, a similar attack in the seaside town of Cambrils left one woman dead. Police shot and killed the five attackers in Cambrils, some of whom were wearing fake explosive belts and carrying knives.   

IS claimed responsibility for the attacks, believed to be its first in Spain.





Why has the expansion of Barcelona airport prompted mass protests?

Around 10,000 people demonstrated against the expansion of the El Prat airport in Barcelona on Sunday.

Why has the expansion of Barcelona airport prompted mass protests?
People march during a demonstration against the expansion of the Barcelona-El Prat airport. Photo: Pau BARRENA / AFP

Several ecological and agricultural organisations, have demanded that the expansion be stopped due to the fact nearby wetlands and farms would have to be destroyed.

The demonstration took place on Calle Tarragona in the Catalan capital between Plaça d’Espanya and Plaça dels Països Catalans.

The protests still took place, even though last week, Spain suspended the €1.7 billion airport expansion project, citing differences with the Catalan government, after president Pere Aragonès said he wanted to avoid destroying La Ricarda lagoon, a natural reserve next to the airport. 

Environmentalists decided not to call off the march, in case plans for the airport expansion still went ahead.

READ ALSO: Six things you need to know about Barcelona airport’s €1.7 billion planned expansion

Political representatives from ERC, En Comú Podem and the CUP also attended, as well as the leader of Más País, Íñigo Errejón; the Deputy Mayor for Ecology of the Barcelona City Council, Janet Sanz, and the Mayor of El Prat de Llobregat, Lluís Mijoler.

People from neighbourhoods across the city marched towards Calle Tarragona and could be seen holding placards that read Nature yes, airport no and shouting slogans such as “More courgettes and fewer planes” and “Fighting for the climate, health, and life”. 

One of the largest groups of people were those from El Prat de Llobregat, the municipality which is home to the airport, who were led by tractors. 

People march during a demonstration against the expansion of Barcelona-El Prat airport. Photo by Pau BARRENA / AFP

In addition to protesting against the expansion of the El Prat airport, people were also demonstrating against the Winter Olympic Games in the Pyrenees and extensions to airports in Mallorca and Madrid. 

A representative of Zeroport, Sara Mingorría said “We are here to defend not only La Ricarda, but the entire Delta”. 

The philosopher Marina Garcés also argued that the expansion of the airport would mean “more borders, more mass tourism, more control and more precarious jobs.” 

The leader of the commons in the Catalan parliament, Jéssica Albiach, who also attended the protest, asked the PSOE for “coherence”: “You cannot be passing a law against climate change and, at the same time, defend the interests of Aena [the airport operations company]”, she said. 

She also urged the leader of the Generalitat, Pere Aragonès, to “definitely say no. 

If the airport expansion in Barcelona goes ahead, environmentalists say that CO2 emissions would rise by a minimum of 33 percent. These levels would surpass the limits set by the Catalan government’s climate targets.