A Teen Suspect, Fake Suicide Belts, a Change in Plans

12-person cell believed to be behind Barcelona attacks
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 18, 2017 5:02 AM CDT
Teen Named as Suspect in Barcelona Attack
Police officers walk near an overturned car onto a platform at the spot where terrorists were intercepted by police in Cambrils, Spain, Friday, Aug. 18, 2017.   (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

A huge manhunt is underway in Spain for the driver of a van that plowed into pedestrians in Barcelona, killing 14 people in a terrorist attack claimed by ISIS. Spanish police have named the suspect as 18-year-old Moussa Oukabir, the Guardian reports. The suspect's brother, 28-year-old Moroccan national Driss Oukabir, was arrested after the attack and reportedly told authorities that his identity documents, which were used to rent the van, were stolen. In other developments:

  • Police say five suspects shot dead after injuring people in a second attack Thursday night were wearing fake explosive belts, CNN reports. The suspects engaged in a shootout with police after driving their Audi A3 into pedestrians in the town of Cambrils, authorities say. Their vehicle overturned during the attack. The suicide belts were so realistic that security forces didn't know they were fake until controlled explosions had been carried out, authorities say.

  • Investigators believe a 12-person terror cell was behind both attacks and an explosion that killed a person at a house in the town of Alcanar, the Telegraph reports. They suspect the terrorists were planning to use gas canisters in another attack.
  • A counterterrorism expert tell the New York Times that authorities believe the attackers initially planned to use a large truck loaded with explosives, but they rented multiple smaller vehicles after they couldn't get a permit for a larger one.
  • Police say the three people arrested so far include a man from Melilla, Spain's North African enclave, reports Reuters.
  • A 7-year-old Australian boy is missing after the Barcelona attack, the Guardian reports. Family members are pleading for help in the search for Julian Cadman, whose mother was hospitalized in serious condition after the attack.
  • Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said Spaniards "are not just united in mourning, but especially in the firm determination to beat those who want to rob us of our values and our way of life," the AP reports. He has declared three days of national mourning.
  • This is the latest atrocity in what the BBC calls a "worrying trend" of attackers using vehicles to attack "soft" targets. ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attack, though it's not clear whether the attackers are directly linked to the group or only inspired by them.
(The victims, including more than 100 injured, came from at least 24 countries.)

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