NEWS
19/08/2017 02:45 BST

Key Spanish Terror Attacks Suspect 'Is Dead'

A key suspect implicated in the Spanish terror attacks which killed 14 people is dead, according to police sources.

Four men were reportedly being hunted by authorities in connection with the deadly vehicle assaults in Barcelona and Cambrils.

Moussa Oukabir, who is said to be 17 or 18 years old, was suspected of using his brother's documents to rent the van which ploughed through pedestrians in the popular Las Ramblas shopping area.

A union official for Spain's Civil Guard told the Associated Press that he was one of five suspected terrorists killed following the attacks.

Mossos, Catalonia's police force, said on Friday evening that it had identified those shot by police but did not confirm their names.   

Some 34 nationalities were among almost 130 people wounded in the attacks in Las Ramblas on Thursday and in Cambrils, a seaside town 70 miles to the south west, early on Friday.

Local authorities have identified six of the victims of the Barcelona attack as an Italian, one Portuguese, three Spanish and one Spanish-Argentine. 

The victim of the second assault in Cambrils has been identified as a Spanish woman.

Relatives of a seven-year-old who became separated from his mother during the Barcelona attack are continuing to appeal for information.

The father and grandmother of Julian Alessandro Cadman are travelling to Spain from Australia as the wait for news continues, family member Debbie Cadman said.

Speaking after the family's initial plea for help, Prime Minister Theresa May said a child with dual British nationality was believed to be among those unaccounted for.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said one Canadian was killed and four injured during the attacks. 

He said in a statement: "We join Spain and countries around the world in grieving the senseless loss of so many innocent people.

"We must stand firm against the spread of hate and intolerance in all its forms. These violent acts that seek to divide us will only strengthen our resolve."

Authorities said 59 people injured in the attacks were still in hospital on Friday night, with 15 in a critical condition and 25 in a serious condition. 

It comes after police revealed the terrorists behind the rampage were preparing bigger attacks, with a suspected gas explosion on Wednesday at a house in Alcanar believed to have robbed the killers of materials to use in larger-scale operations.

Reports from Spain had earlier suggested the terror cell may have been planning an attack using gas canisters.

Catalan regional police official Josep Lluis Trapero told reporters on Friday: "We think they were preparing at least one or more attacks in Barcelona.

"The explosion in Alcanar at least avoided some of the material they were counting on to carry out even bigger attacks than the ones that happened.

"Because of that the attack in Barcelona and the one in Cambrils were carried out in a bit more rudimentary way than the one they had initially planned."

Four men are in custody, aged 21, 27, 28 and 34. Three are Moroccan and one Spanish, and police said none of them was previously known to the security services for terror-related reasons.

Moussa Oukabir's older brother, Driss Oukabir, is reported to be one of those detained. 

Police are also looking for a white Kangoo vehicle which is believed to have been rented by the suspects and could have crossed the border into France, according to French media. 

The attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils, some 70 miles south-west of the city on the Mediterranean coast, took place around eight hours apart on Thursday afternoon and in the early hours of Friday.

In a chilling echo of the London Bridge attack in June, Catalonia president Carles Puigdemont said the five terrorists in the Cambrils car were wearing fake suicide belts when they were stopped.

Police revealed that an axe and knives were also found in the vehicle, with one of the latter used to wound one person in the face before the terrorists were gunned down.

Barcelona came to a halt at noon on Friday as a minute's silence was observed in the Placa Catalunya, close to the scene of the attack, followed by applause for the victims.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull urged his compatriots to pray for Julian, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.

"There's a little Australian boy whose mother was badly injured and he is lost, he's missing in Barcelona," Mr Turnbull said.

"So I think we should all in our private moments say a prayer for that little boy. All of us as parents know the anguish his father is going through and his family is going through as they rush to find him in Barcelona."