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Police say 'terrorist cell from Barcelona' broken as manhunt continues

Police say 'terrorist cell from Barcelona' broken as manhunt continues

Four men linked to a string of deadly terrorist attacks in Spain have appeared in a high court in Madrid on Tuesday. Its members were going to explode huge bombs at monuments in the center of the city, according to a court official.

Authorities say a 12-man terror cell was behind the attack, and that eight of the suspects have either been killed by police or died in an accidental explosion at their bomb-making facility on the day before the attack.

The French official said Spain had flagged a rented Kangoo utility vehicle that was believed to have been rented in Spain by a suspect in Thursday's attacks that might have crossed the border.

All four men are from the town of Ripoll, north of Barcelona, where the majority of those connected to the terror attacks lived.

The judge said there was enough evidence to hold Mohamed Houli Chemlal, 21, and Driss Oukabir, 28, on preliminary charges of causing homicides and injuries of a terrorist nature and of belonging to a terrorism organization.

Police said that with Abouyaaqoub's death, the group responsible for last week's fatal van attacks has now been broken. Five attackers wearing fake explosive belts were also shot dead in the Catalan town. In addition to the five killed by police, four were in custody and one or two were killed in a house explosion Wednesday.

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Mundo spoke during a news conference in which officials also increased the death toll in the attacks to 15 - the latest victim being a man, Pau Perez, found stabbed in a auto that was believed to be used by one of the attackers to flee the scene.

One of the issues being investigated is whether the cell had help from overseas after it was revealed some members of the cell made a "rapid" visit to Paris on 11th and 12th of August, while Abdelbaki es Satti, the imam who is thought to have radicalized the terrorists and who was killed in the Alcanar explosion, is known to have spent considerable time in Belgium.

As the hearing progressed, police were attempting to reconstruct the final 96 hours in the life of the member of the cell who killed 13 people and injured more than 130 others when he drove a hired Fiat van along the crowded Las Ramblas last Thursday. An hour later, police said, Abouyaaquob stabbed a motorist to death and used his auto as a getaway vehicle.

On Friday, police searched the apartment of Ripoll's imam, neighbors said.

Still, there appeared to have been missed opportunities.

A counterterrorism officer in Spain, who requested anonymity to share background information on an open investigation, said Essati had a pending deportation order.

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The regional president added that forces here have been denied membership in Europol, which coordinates Europe's response to transnational terrorism, as well as Spain's anti-terrorism center.

Emergency services had already said that one person died and another was injured in a blast that destroyed the building.

Puigdemont said there are 200,000 Moroccan immigrants living in Catalonia. They didn't pray very much.

They say in a tweet Monday there is an ongoing police operation there.

It was the first time the anti-terror group has met since the deadly attacks in the French city of Nice a year ago. One person was killed and several people were wounded. Spanish officials blamed an al-Qaida cell. Instead, they thought that thieves were dealing in stolen propane tanks - or that perhaps drug dealers were manufacturing methamphetamine. Police think one is that of the imam and are awaiting final DNA confirmation.

The royal couple are expected to take part in a Catholic mass on Sunday morning at architect Antoni Gaudi's famous Sagrada Familia church, a Barcelona landmark, in honour of the victims of the attack.

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