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BARCELONA: As The Dust Settles, The Story Emerges (Updated)


Image of alleged van driver Moussa Oukabir. (Photo: Moussa Oukabir. Source: Twitter)

Following the motor vehicle attack in Barcelona which tragically left 13 people dead and over 100 injured, several other incidents have occurred that temporarily caused confusion and conflicting reports about the events and the suspects involved. As the narrative emerges, however, the attack in Barcelona – for which ISIS has apparently claimed responsibility – is being treated as a major terrorist event, and as the dust settles some nations are signalling further measures to respond to terrorism, increase security and/or restrict freedoms.

Thursday’s attack in Barcelona involved a white van deliberately driving into crowds of pedestrians on La Rambla, Barcelona’s most famous and most crowded street. Spanish authorities are now drawing attention to events in the town of Cambrils, where early Friday morning a number of terror suspects were apparently shot dead by police.

It is being reported that the five suspects in Cambrils, who were supposedly wearing fake suicide belts, deliberately drove their vehicle into pedestrians before being gunned down by police, four of them by a single officer. It is now being claimed that 18-year-old Moussa Oukabir, who is suspected of being the driver of the van that tore through crowds in Barcelona, is among these five dead suspects. One other attacker was killed in a shootout with police at the scene on La Rambla.

Moussa Oukabir is the younger brother of Driss Oukabir whose passport was found at the scene and who was originally thought to have rented the van. Interestingly, Driss Oukabir turned himself in to a local police station claiming that he was not involved in the attack and that his documents were stolen, allowing the van to be rented in his name. Incidentally, this is not the first time passports and other identification have been recovered from the scene of terrorist attacks; the other times this has happened are recounted in a newly updated post by Professor Michel Chossudovsky of Global Research.

It is also not the first time that vans or trucks have been used to attack pedestrians. Among the other cities in Europe that have experienced this tactic are Nice, Berlin and Stockholm, as well as three separate incidents in London: the Westminster attack, the London Bridge attack and the Finsbury Park mosque attack.

One other incident may also be linked to the Barcelona attack. An explosion that occurred on Wednesday night at a house in Alcanar is now being linked to the Barcelona attackers. The explosion resulted in one person being killed and six others sustaining injuries, as well as damage to surrounding buildings.

There were also ‘red herring’ events mixed in with the mainstream coverage of the Barcelona attack. In what is now being claimed is an unrelated incident, a white Ford Focus rammed into two police officers at a terror checkpoint before the suspect fled and was later killed by police. There were also reports – since ruled out as false rumours – of armed men holding hostages in a Barcelona restaurant on Thursday after the attack in Barcelona.

At the time of this writing, there are now 13 dead from the van attack in Barcelona and one dead from the events in Cambrils. More than 130 people were injured in Barcelona (with at least 17 in critical condition) and a further six were injured in Cambrils. Six suspects have been shot dead by police (five in Cambrils and one in Barcelona), and four are under arrest.

We will have to wait and see what the international response to these events will be. But in a forceful statement reminiscent of the Bush-era global war on terror, US Vice President Mike Pence responded to the events in Barcelona by saying that “the United States of America, together with our allies, will find and punish those responsible, and drive the evil of radical Islamic terror from the face of the earth”.

In addition, France is tightening border security in response to the attacks. Russian President Vladimir Putin has also called for the international community to unite in its response to terrorism.

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UPDATE: August 20
The day after this article was first published, the narrative around the Barcelona attack underwent a significant revision when Spanish authorities changed their mind about who was driving the van that plowed through crowds of pedestrians on La Rambla.

As stated above, on early Friday morning police in the town of Cambrils fatally shot five suspects – including 18-year-old Moussa Oukabir, suspected at that time of being the driver of the van and therefore the primary perpetrator of the attack in Barcelona. By Saturday the story had changed.

Now another man, 22-year-old Younes Abouyaaqoub, is said to have been driving the van. As it is being reported that authorities believe he may have driven across the the border from Spain into France, an international manhunt is now underway.

Also on Friday, a man in the Finnish town of Turku stabbed a number of people, killing two and injuring eight others before being shot by police and arrested. Like the suspects in Barcelona, the suspect is a young man of Moroccan origin, and the attack has been classed as terrorism. Potential links to the Barcelona attack are being investigated.

With the mainstream media reporting a narrative in which the primary Barcelona suspect is on the run, an international manhunt is ongoing, and potentially related attacks are occurring in multiple locations across Europe, a significant proportion of public will be left feeling shock, confusion and fear. According to the shock doctrine this leaves the door open for authorities and policymakers to make significant changes to foreign or domestic policy in the name of increasing security and combating terrorism.

UPDATE: August 23


Spanish authorities say Younes Abouyaaqoub was driving the van that killed 13 people in Barcelona. (Photo: Mossos d’Esquadra/Catalan Police)

On Monday it was reported that Younes Abouyaaqoub, the terrorist suspected of driving the van that killed 13 people in Barcelona last week, was shot dead by Catalonian police.

A 14th fatality occurred when Abouyaaqoub stabbed and carjacked a motorist during his getaway from La Rambla, and a 15th occurred after other members of the terror cell drove their car into pedestrians and stabbed a woman in the town of Cambrils before being shot and killed by police themselves.

Like the five suspects killed in Cambrils, Abouyaaqoub was also wearing a fake suicide bomb belt when police fired at him. It is interesting to note that the alleged perpetrators of the London Bridge attacks in June of this year were also supposedly wearing fake suicide bomb vests during their attack.

It is also claimed that Abouyaaqoub shouted “Allahu akbar” before police shot him, another recurring feature of recent terrorist incidents.

Furthermore, while it was not initially clear whether there was a link between this incident and the attack in Barcelona, the white Ford Focus that rammed two police officers at a terror checkpoint on Thursday evening is now said to have been driven by Abouyaaqoub.

Other developments in the narrative include that the terrorist cell’s imam, Abdelbaki Es Satty, who was allegedly coaching members of the cell on how to pull off their terrorist exploits, is believed to have been killed in the explosion that occurred last Wednesday night in the town of Alcanar. In addition, information from a Madrid court which has been receiving the testimony of surviving members of the terror cell, is being anonymously leaked to the press. Among this leaked information are claims that other attacks were planned, including a possible bomb attack on the Sagrada Familia cathedral in Barcelona.

More on this story from RT…


La Rambla, Barcelona, Spain (Photo: Stefano Mortellaro. Source: Wikicommons)

RT

Spain is on high alert after two terrorist attacks in the space of eight hours, left 19 people dead, including five suspected terrorists, and more than 100 injured.

Fourteen people were killed in an attack in the heart of Barcelona on Thursday, when a van was used to mow down pedestrians on the major boulevard, Las Ramblas.

A second incident in the coastal town of Cambrils in the early hours of Friday saw security forces kill five suspects wearing fake suicide belts. The group are thought to have carried out a second attack using a vehicle, injuring six people.

As the investigations continue, here’s RT.com’s timeline of how the attacks unfolded:

Continue this story at RT

READ MORE TERRORISM NEWS AT: 21st Century Wire Terrorism Files

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