Barcelona Suspect: We Planned to Blow Up Church, Other Sites
Terror group's mission was partly foiled when Alcanar bomb-making 'factory' blew up
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 23, 2017 7:58 AM CDT
In this combination photo, four unnamed alleged members of a terror cell accused of killing 15 people in attacks in Barcelona are shown before appearing in court in Madrid on Tuesday.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – The suspected driver of the van that rammed into crowds in Barcelona is now dead, but details are still emerging about last week's carnage that left 15 dead in two attacks and injured more than 130. The newest development, per the Guardian: A 21-year-old suspect in custody told a Spanish court that plans for even bigger attacks had been in the works, including the bombing of Barcelona's Sagrada Familia church. Spanish media reports Mohamed Houli Chemlal was one of the suspects in an Alcanar house that blew up just hours before the two terror attacks, killing two of his associates, and police say that home had been turned into a bomb-making site. Chemlal, appearing in court with three other suspects, said the group had originally hoped to kill hundreds at various Barcelona tourist sites, per the London Times.

Chemlal reportedly admitted to the court that he'd known about the attack plans "for at least two months" and that those plans were streamlined after the Alcanar house accidentally exploded, per the BBC. Court officials also told Spanish media that Chemlal and the other three surviving suspects confirmed the men in the terror group had been radicalized by Ripoll imam Abdelbaki Es Satty, who's said to have died in the Alcanar explosion. Besides the four surviving suspects and the two who died in Alcanar, six other suspects were shot dead, including five involved in the Cambrils attack and suspected van driver Younes Abouyaaqoub. In addition to the 13 civilians killed in Barcelona and a woman killed in Cambrils, one person was also killed when Abouyaaqoub reportedly stabbed a man to death during a carjacking while trying to make his escape after the Barcelona attack.

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