Barcelona mourns as search continues for new suspect

By Daniel Uria and Eric DuVall   |   Updated Aug. 19, 2017 at 5:51 PM
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Aug. 19 (UPI) -- Tens of thousands of mourners crowded Las Ramblas, the historic center of Barcelona, to memorialize the victims of Thursday's terrorist attack as police continued the intense manhunt for the primary suspect.

Many mourners Saturday carried signs in Catalan with the phrase: "We are not afraid." A sign at the heart of the growing memorial of flowers and flickering candles read: "Las Ramblas cries, but it is still alive."

Saturday's memorial service was attended by Spain's King Felipe IV, and Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy among other dignitaries. It came two days after a van driven by a suspected jihadi terrorist jumped a curb and mowed down a crowd of tourists killing 14 and injuring 120 more. A 15h person was killed in another attack hours later in Cambrils, 70 miles south of Barcelona.

As mourners honored the dead, the manhunt for the suspected driver edged toward its third day, with police announcing a major new development.

Spanish police now say they are searching for Moroccan-born Younes Abouyaaqoub, 22, as the driver of the van after the previous suspect, 17-year-old Moussa Oukabir, was named as one of five suspected members of a terrorist cell killed in a shootout with police following the Cambrils attack.

Oukabir is suspected of using his brother's documents to rent the van used in the Barcelona attack and another found in the town of Vic believed to be their intended getaway vehicle.

Police initially targeted Oukabir as the central figure behind the attack, but now believe Abouyaaqoub is their main suspect.

A French security official said Spanish police were looking for a Renault Kangoo van rented in Spain that may have crossed into France.

The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the Las Ramblas attack, and Spanish officials believe it was carried out by a terrorist cell of at least 12 people.

Spanish officials confirmed on Saturday that the accused terrorist cell responsible for the attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils had been "completely dismantled," although the manhunt for Abouyaaqoub continued.

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