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TERRORISM

Images show terror cell preparing for 2017 Barcelona attack

Chilling images published in the Spanish media on Monday show men in a terror cell preparing explosives ahead of last year's jihadist attacks in Barcelona and a nearby seaside resort that killed 16 people.

Images show terror cell preparing for 2017 Barcelona attack
In this undated photo, published on August 6, 2018 by Spanish journal La Vanguardia, Abouyaaqouab Aalla and Hichamy, two of the terrorists that committed several attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils. Pho

In one picture, a plotter smiles and points the sky while wearing an explosives belt around his waist.

In another, two men pose for the camera as they make they make the explosives.

There is an even a picture of one man posing next to the next Eiffel Tower in Paris.

One of the men preparing the explosives is Younes Abouyaaqoub, 22, who drove a van through a crowd of people on the popular Las Ramblas boulevard in the heart of Barcelona on August 17, 2017, killing 13 people.    

He then stabbed another man to make his getaway before being shot dead by police days later.

The Spanish newspaper La Razon, one of the media outlets which published the images, said they were recovered along with video files in the rubble of a house in Alcanar, a town some 200 kilometres (125 miles) from Barcelona, where the group made the bombs.

An explosion at the house on the eve of the attack killed two of the plotters and deprived the others of bombs, forcing them to change their plans.    

A total of 16 people were killed in the Barcelona assault and a knife attack in the nearby resort of Cambrils. The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attacks.

La Razon also published transcripts of dialogue between the plotters, in which they make fun of their potential victims and brag about their upcoming attack.

“Allah has chosen us from among millions of people to make you cry blood,” a man identified as Omar Hichamy is quoted as saying.   

The six youths of Moroccan origin, aged 17 to 24, who carried out the attacks were all killed by police.

Moroccan iman Abdelbaki Es Satty, who is believed to have radicalised the others, was killed in the Alcanar explosion.

TERRORISM

Three suspected jihadists held in Barcelona

A court in Spain on Monday remanded in custody three suspected members of Islamic State arrested last week in Barcelona, including an Algerian man who had fought for the Islamist group in Iraq.

Three suspected jihadists held in Barcelona
Archive photo of a suspected jihadist arrested near Barcelona. Photo: AFP

Spanish authorities began their investigation after becoming aware just before Christmas that the “potentially dangerous” Algerian man was in Spain, police said in a statement.   

The man, a “jihadist” who had fought for the Islamic State group in Iraq, was arrested at a building occupied by squatters in Barcelona's seaside neighbourhood of Barceloneta, the statement added.

Police detained two other Algerian men as part of the operation, one suspected of giving him “logistical support” in Spain and another described by police as has “acolyte”.

The operation was carried out in cooperation with European Union law enforcement agency Europol and the FBI, as well as the intelligence services of Spain and Algeria, the statement said.

The three men appeared before a court on Monday where the presiding judge ordered they be remanded in custody on suspicion of membership in a terrorist organisation.

Their arrest comes as the trial of three men accused of helping the jihadists behind the August 2017 attacks in Barcelona and a nearby town that killed 16 people is wrapping up at a court near Madrid.

The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attacks, one of which involved a van ramming people in the centre of Barcelona.   

While none of the three men on trial are charged with direct responsibility, they are in the dock for helping the attackers, who were all shot dead by police.

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