Spain to reinforce security across tourist areas

Frederick Owens
August 22, 2017

The terror cell behind Spain's deadly twin attacks has been "dismantled", Interior Minister Juan Ignacio Zoido said on Saturday, although local authorities took a more cautious tone.

The Spanish government chose to maintain its anti-terrorism alert level at 4 but said to reinforce security measures at the same time, the Interior Ministry said Saturday in a statement.

Spain's Princess Letizia speaks with one of the victims of the van attacks, at a hospital in Barcelona.

A key suspect linked to the Barcelona attack and a later one is still sought.

The hunt for the suspected van driver - 22-year-old Younes Abouyaaqoub - is continuing in north-west Catalonia and across the border in France.

On Thursday, an attack in Las Ramblas left 13 people dead and many injured. Six others were also injured in the attack.

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The police operation came as Spain's interior minister met with representatives of nearly all political parties to brief them about the investigation into the deadly attacks that killed 15 people in Catalonia last week.

The daughter of a Catalan vineyard owner in the area where Abouyaaqoub was shot said her father alerted police after they saw a vehicle crossing their property at high speed even though the vineyard was closed off. Spanish police gunned down all five attackers. Moussa Oukabir, 17, who was previously identified as the driver, is thought to be among five men shot by police on Friday after a later attack in Cambrils, an hour and a half drive west of Barcelona, on Friday. As of Saturday morning, 54 injured people are still hospitalized with 12 of them in critical condition, according to Catalan emergency services. Authorities arrested a man after the explosion.

The Islamic State (IS) claimed responsibility of the Cambrils attack, reports AFP quoting the propaganda agency.

Police say the suspects had been planning more sophisticated attacks, but an explosion on Wednesday at a house in the town of Alcanar deprived them of bomb material, so they carried out simpler attacks using vehicles. Three are Moroccan and one Spanish.

Abouyaaqoub lived in the town of Ripoll to the north of Barcelona.

Other reports by LeisureTravelAid

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