New information about Younes Abouyaaqoub’s escape has been revealed. According to the Catalan police chief, the Barcelona attack driver fled the scene on foot, murdered a man by stabbing him to death and then stole the man’s car. The car, along with the man’s body, has been recovered.
The scene of the attack in Barcelona Photo Credit: Reuters/Channel 2 News
The Catalan police chief confirmed on Monday that Younes Abouyaaqoub, the 22-year-old Moroccan who is suspected of driving the van that plowed into dozens of pedestrians in Barcelona last week, fled the scene on foot. In the days following the deadly attack, police officers have pieced together Abouyaaqoub’s escape route. He apparently stabbed a driver to death and stole his car before crashing into a police blockade while he was fleeing the area. The car was discovered with the driver’s body inside, bringing the death toll in last week’s attacks in Spain to 15. Meanwhile, the Catalan police chief added that all the victims have been identified.
The police chief also stated that the imam who was the spiritual driving force behind the terror cell in Catalonia, Abdelbaki Es Satty, was killed in an explosion a day before the Barcelona terror attack. Es Satty lived in Ripoll, where most of the terrorists also resided. It is believed that his views were radicalized when he was in prison serving a two-year sentence for drug convictions alongside one of the terrorists who carried out the 2004 Madrid train bombings.
Meanwhile, Spain continues to search for Abouyaaqoub. On Monday morning, a senior Catalan official said that the manhunt for him has been extended across Europe. Catalan Interior Minister Joaquim Forn said that police throughout Europe are searching for him. “This is a joint effort, not just in Catalan but all over the continent,” he stated. On Sunday, it was reported that Abouyaaqoub may have crossed the border into France.
Forn added that the local police department has identified Abouyaaqoub as the driver of the van. “This is the main direction of the investigation,” he said. “All of the evidence points to this.” Meanwhile, Catalan police officers raided a few homes in Ripoll.