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Barcelona suspect tells court bigger attack was planned

By
Allen Cone
Mohamed Houli Chemlal, 21, one of four arrested in relation to the terrorist attacks in Spain, is taken to national court in Madrid on Tuesday. The faces of guards were blurred in accordance with Spanish law. Photo by J.J. Guillen/EPA
Mohamed Houli Chemlal, 21, one of four arrested in relation to the terrorist attacks in Spain, is taken to national court in Madrid on Tuesday. The faces of guards were blurred in accordance with Spanish law. Photo by J.J. Guillen/EPA

Aug. 22 (UPI) -- One of the suspected members in a terrorist cell that carried out last week's fatal attacks in Spain told a Madrid court that a bigger plot was in the works.

Mohamed Houli Chemlal, 21, was injured in a house explosion in Alcanar last Wednesday. Over the next two days, police say, terrorists carried out a series of attacks in and around Barcelona, killing 15 people and injuring more than 100 others.

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Houli Chemlal is one of four surviving suspects from what police called a terrorist cell. They each are appearing before the Madrid high court.

Unnamed judicial sources told Spanish media he had confessed to police and in a closed court hearing said a bigger attack was planned.

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Judicial sources told El Mundo that Houli Chemlal testified the iconic Sagrada Familia cathedral was one of several targets.

Houli Chemlal, wearing hospital pajamas and a bandage on his arm in court Tuesday, is being treated for his injuries in the blast at the Alcanar house, which, police said, had been turned into a bomb factory. Police found 120 gas canisters in the destroyed home.

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Police arrested Houli Chemlal, a Spanish national from the north African enclave of Melilla, in the hospital.

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The other detained suspects are Driss Oukabir, 28; Mohammed Aalla, 27; and Sahal al-Karib, 34.

Judge Fernando Andreu questioned the suspects and will decide whether to keep them in custody and deny bail, as a prosecutor has demanded.

Eight other suspected members of the terrorist cell have died in the last week. Two died in the explosion that injured Houli Chemlal and police shot and killed six others.

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