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Wednesday, June 20, 2018, 

Barcelona attack: Suspects 'planned to hit key monuments'

Barcelona attack: Suspects

Madrid, 22 August 2017 (MIA) - The cell behind the Barcelona van attack had planned to use explosives against monuments including the city's famous Sagrada Familia church, the BBC quotes a suspect as telling a Madrid court.

Mohamed Houli Chemlal is one of four surviving suspects who gave evidence.

The group's plans were scaled back when a house packed with bomb-making equipment blew up the day before.

Houli Chemlal was injured in the accidental blast that reduced the house to rubble in the town of Alcanar.

The Alcanar explosion came the day before Thursday's Barcelona attack in which a van was driven at speed down the main Las Ramblas boulevard, killing 13 and injuring more than 100.

Judicial sources quoted Houli Chemlal as telling the court a much bigger series of attacks had been planned.

Assailants killed a total of 15 people in the van attack, the stabbing of a driver whose car was commandeered shortly afterwards, and a car attack in the resort of Cambrils hours later.

Eight members of the cell are dead - two were killed in the Alcanar explosion, and six were later shot by police, including five after the Cambrils attack.

The last suspect to be killed was Moroccan-born Younes Abouyaaqoub, 22, believed to be the driver of the Las Ramblas van.

Wearing a fake explosives belt and armed with knives, he was shot dead by police in a vineyard west of Barcelona on Monday.

The surviving suspects were moved, under high security, from Barcelona to Madrid for Tuesday's hearing.

The court session, a preliminary hearing to gather evidence for a future trial, took place behind closed doors.

The four suspects have been charged in court with terrorist-related murder, belonging to a terrorist organisation and possession of explosives, according to a source.

All four suspects giving evidence are reported to have testified that Es Satty was the ringleader of the group. lk/21:13


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