‘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.’
‘According to police sources, the alleged suspect driver of the van Moussa Oukabir, 17 years old (18 in some news reports) in the Las Ramblas attack was shot dead by police on Friday.
It is worth noting that two hours after the Barcelona terror attack, a suspect “was shot dead” after driving through a roadblock in Barcelona. According to police reports, he was killed by mistake: “He is now not believed to be linked to the attack.”
Moussa’s brother Driss Oukabir had initially been identified as a suspect when his ID was found at the scene of the Barcelona attack. Following the press reports concerning his ID, Driss went voluntarily to the police station saying that his ID had been stolen and he was not in any way involved in the attacks.
Was his brother Moussa (a suspect according to police reports) the perpetrator? Did a 17 year old have the required experience in driving a van in an allegedly carefully planned operation. (The minimum age in Spain to obtain a driver’s licence for a car or a van is 18 years.)
Moussa is dead, dead men do not talk. But his brother is still alive. Will he live to tell his brother’s real story?’
‘The secrecy and subterfuge behind the Iraq war links Spain to Islamist terror. Jose Maria Aznar, the Prime Minister at the time, and his government misled the country by claiming that a devastating massacre in Madrid, a direct retaliation for the invasion, was the work of Basque separatists rather than al-Qaeda.
Mr Aznar had backed George W Bush and Tony Blair in the conflict which is now recognised as a catalyst for the upsurge in jihad which continues to this day. The coordinated attack on commuter trains at the Spanish capital in March 2004, killing 192 people and wounding 1,800, remains the deadliest terrorist attack on Europe this century and was among the first of the murderous backlash.
Spain had escaped the worst of the Islamist terror attacks suffered by other European states since then. Some government ministers had claimed that this was due to the experience in confronting the Basque militants of ETA over decades and also because the country’s Muslim population was relatively assimilated.’
‘Terrorist attacks in Spain have left at least 14 people dead and over 100 others injured. Press TV has interviewed Jim W. Dean, managing editor of the Veterans Today from Atlanta, and Michael Lane, founder of American Institute for Foreign Policy from Washington, to ask for their thoughts on the terrorist attacks.
Dean said US wars, spread of Saudi Wahhabism and the use of Internet to attract people into terrorist cells have played a key role in radicalizing people all over the world.
“It is a very difficult problem and there are many people that are sharing the guilt including those in the US coalition that say they are fighting terrorism, that look the other way when someone like Saudi Arabia is funding it (terrorism) all over the world,” the commentator said on Friday night.
He pointed the finger at Western powers for destabilizing other countries in order to pursue their policies around the globe.’
‘One of the key suspects tied to Thursday’s deadly terror rampage in the streets of Barcelona launched a series of anti-Israel and anti-Semitic tirades on social media just days before the murderous attack.
Driss Oukabir who rented the white Fiat van used to run down hapless pedestrians outside of a popular tourist hotspot in Barcelona, Spain was arrested near the scene of the attack and is considered a prime suspect in the terror plot.
At least 13 people were killed during the attack, and another 80 injured.
The attack occurred near two kosher restaurants in the La Rambla outdoor mall in Barcelona: the Maccabi Restaurant, and Maoz Falafel.
While European Jewish leaders say the attack likely did not target the Jewish institutions, Oukabir did express anti-Israel and anti-Semitic views in the days leading up to Thursday’s attack, accusing Jews of murdering Arab children and engaging in a global conspiracy “to take over the world”.’
‘A woman has said she survived yesterday’s van attack in Barcelona just months after being caught in similar incidents on London Bridge and at the Notre Dame attack, which saw a police officer being stabbed.
Twenty-six-year old Julia Monaco says she was out shopping with friends in the Spanish capital when the van crashed into crowds of tourists, 9News Aus reports.
Fourteen people have now died following the attack, with more than 100 others injured.
Julia, from Melbourne, told Australian radio station 3AW this was her third experience since she began travelling around Europe.
She had been on the Tube in London at the time of the London Bridge attack in June and was at Notre Dame in the same month in Paris when a police man was stabbed.’
‘Finnish authorities stepped up security around the country after a stabbing rampage left two people dead and half a dozen wounded in a western city.
One suspect was arrested after being shot by armed police and officers launched a search for other possible perpetrators following the attack in the city-centre of Turku on Friday.
But investigators said it was too early to attribute the attack to international terrorism or to link it to the attacks in Spain the previous day.
“I emphasise that the identity and motive of the perpetrator are not yet known,” Paula Rissiko, the interior minister, told reporters on Friday evening.’
‘Members of an Iraqi special forces unit abused civilians during the major offensive to retake Islamist-held Mosul, the country’s prime minister said after months of inquiry into disturbing torture allegations first reported by Germany’s Spiegel magazine.
“The [investigation] committee has concluded … that clear abuses and violations were committed by members of [special forces unit] the ERD,” the office of Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said in a statement, according to Reuters. The prime minister’s office added the perpetrators would face prosecution.
The Iraqi government launched an investigation in May after German magazine Spiegel published a news story that included disturbing images taken by a freelance photographer who accompanied the soldiers of the elite Emergency Response Division (ERD) unit on their way to Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) stronghold Mosul.
In the article, titled ‘Not heroes but monsters,’ Ali Arkady said he witnessed multiple instances of rape, torture and targeted killings by members of the ERD. He added the soldiers had persecuted numerous civilians on “vague” suspicions of links with IS.’