Spanish police ID Barcelona van driver; death toll rises to 15



Aug. 21 (UPI) — Police said Monday that a 15th victim from last week’s terror attack in Spain has died — and officials formally identified the name of the suspected driver of the van used in the brazen plot.

Authorities have been searching for Younes Abouyaaquoub, a Moroccan national, for days — but confirmed Monday that’s who they are looking for. Investigators say he allegedly drove the van into a crowd in Barcelona’s busy La Rambla area on Thursday and fled on foot.

The manhunt has spread across Europe.

Abouyaaquoub, 22, evaded capture when he rammed his way through a police checkpoint in a stolen vehicle after stabbing the driver, an hour after the attack that left more than 100 people injured, Catalan police said.

Police said Abouyaaquoub sped off with the car’s owner, Pau Perez, still inside. His body was later found in the vehicle, making him the 15th person to die in the terrorist attacks.

Thirteen people died in the first attack in Barcelona and one died during a second strike in Cambril, where police killed five suspects as they attempted to flee.

Photographs of Abouyaaquoub were posted on social media sites by the Mossos d’Esquadro, the Catalonian police force, with the message, “He is dangerous and could be armed. He is sought as the alleged perpetrator of the Barcelona attack on August 17. He was the van driver.”

As the search for Abouyaaquoub intensifies, the investigation has concentrated on a building explosion in Alcanar, near Barcelona, the day before the car-ramming attacks. Police believe explosives manufactured there were likely to have been planned for an attack.

Among those killed in the blast was a Muslim cleric, Abdelbakr El-Satty, who authorities regard as a possible link in the Barcelona plot.



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