Moussa Oukabir, a 17-year-old Moroccan man, who appears to have written about killing infidels to replace them with Muslims on social media, was accused by Spanish police of being the driver of the van that rammed into a crowd of people on a tourist promenade in Barcelona.
Authorities now believe that Moussa was part of an ISIS terrorist cell of 12 people, El Pais reports. Moussa, who also wrote that he could never live in the Vatican, is believed to be one of five terrorists killed by police in Cambrils.
News that police were saying Moussa was the driver came from Spanish language sites, like El Pais. The driver fled on foot after the horrific attack that left bloodied streets and fatally wounded victims from multiple countries. Bruno Gulotta, an Italian father of two, was the first victim named. An American was also among the dead. However, other reports said Moussa was killed by police in Cambrils with other terrorists after the Barcelona attack, so whether he was the driver is still not completely clear.
Other accused terrorists were named as Said Aallaa, Mohamed Hychami, and Younes Abouyaaqoub.
There was also confusion for many hours after the Barcelona attack about the lead suspect’s identity as police rushed to deal with a subsequent attack in nearby Cabrils from a carload of five, possibly explosives-laden, attackers. At first, police released the Barcelona suspect’s photo and identity as Driss Oukabir, the 28-year-old older brother of Moussa. However, then, reports emerged that Driss had come forward to a police precinct in Ripoli, Italy, and claimed he had nothing to do with the attack.
According to El Pais and El Comercio, two Spanish language sites, authorities were looking into whether the real suspect might have been Driss’ brother, Moussa Oukabir, early one. He lives in Barcelona, where social media accounts attributed to him spoke of Muslims, Aleppo, and killing infidels.
A report in the Guardian, though, alleges that Driss Oukabir was arrested after he went to police about stolen identity, but the publication says he was not the van’s driver. It was, altogether, a chaotic few hours in Spain and for authorities.
The horrific attack – which authorities say was perpetrated by three terrorists – occurred on August 17 as people walked on a busy sidewalk. Then, as Barcelona was reeling from the attack, came word of a possible second terror attack. Spanish police now say that five other terrorists may be dead in a possible second attack in Cambrils. There was also, before the Barcelona attack, a house explosion that police think is linked to it all.
In Barcelona, Spanish government officials said three terrorists rammed a van into a crowd of people, killing at least 13 people and wounding up to 100 people, creating scenes of carnage that are becoming all too familiar as a modus operandi for terrorist attacks. Multiple people remained in critical condition. The identities of all of the Barcelona and Cabrils terrorists have not yet been confirmed.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Driss Oukabir Now Says His Identity Was Stolen & Spanish Media Say Police Think the Real Suspect Might Be Moussa
Police in Spain fairly quickly released the above photo of Driss Oukabir and identified him as one of the Barcelona terrorists. However, then the plot thickened; a man alleging to be Driss Oukabir walked into a police station in Ripoli and claimed his ID was stolen.
“Investigators believe that it could be his brother who stole the documentation and who may be the one who is really involved in the deaths of the city. Driss’s brother is called Moussa Oukabir, he lives in Barcelona and is 18 years old,” reported El Pais. Other Spanish sites followed suit with the same information, although authorities had not yet confirmed it.
Reported CatalunyiaDiari: “Several sources report that the protagonist of this action was Moussa Oukabir, brother of Driss, 18. The young man lives in Barcelona and is thought to be one of the main authors of the facts. Likewise, the confusion -and the confirmation-that has led Mossos to stop Driss Oukabir can be due to the fact that he was a resident of the penitentiary center of Figueres, where he left in 2012.”
According to La VanGuardia, “An individual who has identified himself as Driss Oukabir Soprano has come this afternoon to the police station of the Mossos d’Esquadra in the town of Ripoll (Girona), where he resides, and has reported the theft of his documentation. Before, the police forces had spread the image of this person as alleged perpetrator of the terrorist attack occurred in the Rambla of Barcelona. Therefore, the broadcast image would not correspond with the actual author.”
The site continued, “The man who has appeared as Driss Oukabir has explained to the agents that when he saw his photograph in the media he went to the police station and explained there that his document had been stolen, as well as clarified that at the time of the attack Was in Ripoli. The mayor adds that Driss Oukabir is a well-known person in the locality.”
El Nacional, the Spanish paper, reported the same information. “The youngster of Maghreb origin Driss Oukabir would have appeared in the commissary of the Mossos de Ripoll to deny that he has any involvement with the attack of this afternoon in Barcelona and to assure that they robbed him (of) the documentation with which the terrorists would have rented the van that they have used For the attack, as El Nacional has learned,” the translation of the article read.
“Local sources confirmed by the city, Jordi Munell, have ensured that the young man, who resides in Ripoli, would have come to deny any involvement in the facts and to explain that he was in Ripoli at the time of the events,” the article continued.
Either way, it was a grim and horrific day for the Spanish city and Spain overall. For a moment, it was just another day in the tourist neighborhood in Barcelona. Until it wasn’t. Seconds later, people lay bloodied, wounded and dead in the street as they were tended to by strangers and news broke around the world of another terrorist attack.
2. Moussa Oukabir Is Accused of Writing That He Wanted to Kill Infidels on Social Media & Leave Only Muslims
Seguridad y Defensa, a site that publishes security and defense news, has alleged that Moussa Oukabir once posted on social media the message, “kill the infidels and just leave Muslims.”
BBC confirmed that Moussa Oukabir used the name Moussa De La Vega on a Facebook page that has now been deleted. You can see screenshots of the posts on it below. He also wrote on the site Kiwi using the name “MoussaStreetBoy.”
Kiwi is a question-and-answer site. According to BBC, the translations show that “someone asked what to do when learning someone has been lying to you for more than a year. Moussa replied: ‘Kill him at night with a pistol’ but then stated that he was only joking and added a crying-with-laughter emoji.”
He was then asked “what you would do on your first day as the supreme king or queen of the world” and responded, “Kill the infidels; leave only Muslims who follow the religion.”
A review of the Facebook page Spanish media have attributed to Moussa also showed posts about Muslims and Aleppo, as well as posts about fast cars.
Here are some of the other posts on the page attributed to Moussa Oukabir:
According to Fox News, police have not yet clarified whether they released the name of the right suspect. The latest injury and death estimates from Spanish government officials are as follows: 14 dead; 15 critically injured; 23 “less seriously” injured; 42 minor injuries.
A Facebook page that appeared to be Driss’ gave his name as Driss Oukabir Soprano and said he lives in Ripoli and is from Marseilles, France; the page shared anti-Semitic posts, including a video with blatant Nazi imagery, a post about Muslim reaction to Christianity, and Moroccan music videos. The page also says he is in a relationship. Spanish and French reporters identified the page as that of Driss Oukabir, the Barcelona suspect, although police have not confirmed this. The page was deleted shortly after it started filling with invective from angry people who found it. El Pais confirmed through police sources that the suspect had lived in Ripoli and reported he is under arrest.
El Pais, a Spanish language newspaper, reported that the suspect was identified by the Civil Guard in that country. The translated version of the article read, “The van used in the attack was rented by Driss Oukabir, in the town of Santa Perpetua de la Mogada, according to the identification made by the Civil Guard.” It’s not yet clear the degree to which police believe that Driss Oukabir was allegedly involved in the attack – whether he was the driver, for example.
However, the latest accounts have cast that into doubt.
Moussa’s Facebook page said he worked for Coca-Cola. It has also now been deleted.
3. Moussa Oukabir Is Accused of Being Part of an ISIS Cell & Graphic Photos & Videos Captured the Carnage at the Scene
A terrorist cell of at least 12 people with allegiance to the Islamic State is believed to have operated in the string of Spanish attacks, and Moussa had been registered as living in Spain since he was a child.
“Moussa has no criminal record and has been registered as living in Spain since 2005, sources close to the investigation told Spanish news agency Europa Press. The agency also reported Moussa as being 17, with his birthday being in October,” El Pais reported.
“Police believe that the terrorist cell is made up of at least 12 people, five of whom died in the Cambrils operation, three of whom have been arrested, leaving four at large, including the driver of the van,” Moussa, reported El Pais.
As has been seen many times in such attacks, graphic and horrific photos and videos immediately circulated on social media. Be forewarned that they are very disturbing to watch as they show bloodied sidewalks and victims lying prone on sidewalks.
According to The Sun newspaper, police are treating the incident as a terror attack, and confirmed that a “massive crash” had occurred in Barcelona.
5. Moussa May Have Died in Cambrils & The Official News Agency of ISIS Has Claimed Responsibility for the Attack
Moussa Oukabir may be one of the five terrorists who died in the botched attack in Cambrils, Spain, reported Politico. Politico reports that authorities believe the terrorists were planning a bombing, but their explosives detonated in a house, demolishing it, so they turned to a vehicle ramming method they had seen used in other European attacks.
Police have four men under arrest, reported Politico, “one in Alcanar and three in the town of Ripoll. Three were Moroccans and one was from the Spanish enclave of Melilla in North Africa…None of the men arrested had any record of involvement in terrorism but some did have criminal records, he said, adding that their ages ranged from 17 to 27.”
Government officials in Spain said quickly that the attack was likely terrorism and was being treated as such. It wasn’t long before the attack was being celebrated on ISIS channels and, then, came word that Amaq, the official news agency of ISIS, had claimed responsibility for it.
The backgrounds of the suspects were still being excavated so whether they truly were linked to ISIS is not yet clear nor confirmed by authorities.