Published: Wednesday, November 11, 2020 3:25 PM
The trial continues for the attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils in August 2017. This Tuesday, during the second session at the National Court, new details were revealed on the functioning of the jihadist cell of Ripoll.
As the head of the Mossos d’Esquadra counterterrorism unit said at the time, the investigation determined that the terrorists’ targets were “the Barça field, the Sagrada Familia and the Eiffel Tower” and that their original intention was “to attack August 20”.
Indeed, according to testimonies, Younes Abouyaaqoub – the conductor of the mass indignation of La Rambla – and Mohamed Hichamy – who attacked Cambrils – went to Paris from Alcanar – where they were preparing the explosives – in August.
During this trip, he detailed, bought a camera and made a series of photos and videos of the Eiffel Tower, paying attention to its “structure” or to the people in the queue. “It is a clear study of the purpose of the Eiffel Tower,” said the agent. “These are not tourist photos”, he excluded.
However, the terrorists carried out “a lot of searches” for more places. “The national court consulted him 219 times; the Riudecanyes reservoir, 186 times; the Tomatina de Buñol festival; the Zaragoza military base, NATO headquarters, ”the witness said.
In addition, the researchers found research on the coastal towns: Lloret de Mar, the “gay clubs of Sitges”, the Colossos nightclub in Lloret and the Cambrils waterfront itself. During the search, agents also found a list of tourist towns on the Catalan coast, some of which are crossed out.
Conversations that dismantle the defense of Driss Oukabir
The witness also referred to the searches carried out in the days preceding the attacks by one of the three accused, Driss Oukabir, who, during the first day of the trial, assured that “he was neither religious nor practicing” and that he was devoted to drug trafficking.
According to the witness, “Driss begins to look for what the Koran says about the murder of Christians” already in February and at the beginning of August he went to Morocco, where on the 9th he undergoes a religious ritual of healing”. The same day, according to his testimony, “the same day he was looking for excavator rentals.”
In addition, during his stay in Morocco, he had conversations with his partner, in which “he praises that his girlfriend has put on the veil” and tells her “that when she returns, they will get married and that he does not want to continue living in sin ”. Part of the statement to which Oukabir reacted with gestures of indignation from the dock.
For his part, still according to the account of the head of the anti-terrorism unit, Driss’s brother, Moussa – one of the terrorists killed in Cambrils – sent him back to Spain “a video on how to veil a corpse” and, the same day, Driss made “consultations on an Egyptian preacher”, known for “his vision of the oppression which the Islamic world lived”. On the 15th, his brother “told him to continue his religion”.
Theft to finance explosives
Asked where the terrorists got the money to buy the explosives precursors, the witness clarified that the money came from the theft of a company in which the terrorists had worked, from where they had stolen 15,000 euros, and the theft of jewelry from the owner of a restaurant where one of them had worked.
Money also came from the work of those who worked, from the sale of vehicles. In addition, the members of the cédula tried to borrow from credit institutions.