Barcelona Terror Cell Planned To Bomb Church, Might Have Accidentally Blown Up Imam Instead

REUTERS/Sergio Perez

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Jacob Bojesson Foreign Correspondent
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The now-dismantled terror cell behind Thursday’s deadly terror attack in Barcelona had much bigger plans in mind, but an accident on the eve of the attack forced them to change plans.

The van attacks in Barcelona and nearby Cambrils that left 14 dead and more than 100 injured were supposed to involve explosives. Newspaper El Español reported Saturday that the terrorists planned on driving vans of explosives into three busy tourist areas, including the city’s landmark Sagrada Familia church.

The group was forced to reconsider their plans after a suspected bomb factory in a house outside of town blew up Wednesday night. Two people died and several were injured in what police originally thought was a gas explosion.

“They were preparing one or several attacks in Barcelona, and an explosion in Alcanar stopped this as they no longer had the material they needed to commit attacks of an even bigger scope,” police spokesman Josep Lluis Trapero said at a press conference Friday, according to The Local.

Police believe the group was radicalized by their local imam, identified as Abdelbaki Es Satty, who has been missing since the attack. Investigators now suspect that Es Satty was one of the deceased in the accidental bomb factory explosion.

“The last time I saw him was Tuesday and he told me that he was going to see his wife in Morocco,” Es Satty’s roommate told AFP.

Minister of the Interior Juan Ignacio Zoido said Saturday that the terror cell has been “completely dismantled” in the aftermath of the attack.

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