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People flee the scene of a terror attack in Barcelona. On Thursday, a rental van accelerated into a crowd of pedestrians gathered in a busy pedestrian area, La Rumbla. Image courtesy of Giannis Papanikos, AP.

One of the suspects detained in connection to last week’s terror attack in Barcelona has been released by Spanish police.

Saleh El Karib was let loose from detention after being held and interrogated by Catalonia law enforcement for several days.

The Moroccan-origin man was originally picked up by police due to his relations to two of the suspected attackers, Driss Oubakir and Abdelbaki Es-Satty.

El-Karib had bought plane tickets for Oubakir and Es-Satty before they carried out the attack last Thursday, which left 13 dead and injured over 130 people.

In the early afternoon, four men drove a rental van into one of the plazas near La Rambla, a busy and popular pedestrian street in Barcelona. An American and Canadian were among the dead, along with three Argentinians, a Belgian, an Italian, two Portuguese, and five Spaniards.

A law enforcement investigation, carried out by Spanish and Catalan police, revealed a connection between the attack on La Rambla and an explosion which took place a week earlier.

The four attackers had allegedly planned to use bombs in Barcelona, which experts say could have increased casualties by a large margin.

However, an accident at the house storing the explosives led to a premature detonation, which left one dead and leveled the building near where they’d been stored.

La Rumbla is a busy pedestrian section of Barcelona, popular with locals and tourists alike. Thursday’s terror attack saw a van weaving haphazardly along one of the area’s main plazas. Image courtesy of Reuters, via BBC.

The bank which owned the property said the home had been vacant and up for sale – nobody in the coastal town, which has many seasonally-occupied houses, noticed that the terrorist squatters had been up to no good.

The suspected driver of the van, Younes Abouyaaquob, was shot dead by police on Monday after leading law enforcement on a days-long manhunt. On top of spearheading the van attack in Barcelona, Abouyaaquoub was accused of killing a man whose car he hijacked while fleeing La Rambla.

Although no definite connection has yet been established, the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, or ISIS) claimed responsibility for last Thursday’s horror in Barcelona.

One of the terror group’s media outlets said “soldiers of the caliphate” had staged the attack on their behalf.

Spain has been targeted by ISIS and other extremists in the past.

According to The Economist, Islamic State propaganda has targeted Spain for contributing soldiers and military coordinators to assist the Iraqi army in its fight against the group.

ISIS has also expressed its aim to ‘reclaim’ the Iberian Peninsula, a large portion of which was ruled by the Muslim Moors until the fifteenth century.

Somewhat ironically, Moorish domination of modern-day Spain was characterized by religious tolerance, prosperity, and scientific innovation.

The attack in Barcelona was the most severe terror attack in the country since al-Qaeda killed nearly 200 people in a series of coordinated train bombings in 2004.

Sources

Barcelona: 13 killed as van rams crowds in Las Ramblas

Barcelona terror attack: Live updates

Barcelona Terror Attack: Van Ramming Kills at Least 13, Injures More Than 100

Spain attacks suspect released from custody

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