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Barcelona van attack driver 'may still be alive and on the run' Spanish police say

Officers are looking for Moroccan-born Younes Abouyaaqoub, who has been identified in Spanish media as the suspected driver.

19 August 2017, 9:25am
Younes Abouyaaqoub is thought to have been the driver of the van used in the attack
Younes Abouyaaqoub is thought to have been the driver of the van used in the attack
Still image extracted from CCTV footage of the van attack in Barcelona
Still image extracted from CCTV footage of the van attack in Barcelona
The driver in Thursday's van attack which left 13 people dead in Barcelona may still be alive and on the run, according to Spanish police.

Officers are looking for Moroccan-born Younes Abouyaaqoub, who has been identified in Spanish media as the suspected driver.

Another key suspect, Moussa Oukabir, 17, was one of five men killed by police after a second attack in Cambrils, west of Barcelona. Oukabir had previously been seen as the main suspect - but late on Friday police chief Josep Trapero told local TV that the theory that he was the driver now "had less weight".

Spain’s El Pais newspaper reports a growing belief that Abouyaaqoub was the main plotter.

Police say the suspects had been planning more sophisticated attacks.

It is thought that explosions in a house in the town of Alcanar on Wednesday had destroyed the plotters’ bomb making materials so they chose to carry out simpler attacks using vehicles.

Of the four attackers,  Moussa Oukabir, 17, Mohamed Hychami, 24 and Said Aallaa, 18 were killed. Younes Abouyaaqoub, 22 remains on at large.
Of the four attackers, Moussa Oukabir, 17, Mohamed Hychami, 24 and Said Aallaa, 18 were killed. Younes Abouyaaqoub, 22 remains on at large.
22 year-old Abouyaaqoub was a resident of Ripoll, a town north of Barcelona. Three people have been arrested in Ripoll and one person in Alcanar.

Oukabir is suspected of using his brother's documents to rent the van used in the Barcelona attack as well as a getaway vehicle that was found hours later in the town of Vic, north of Barcelona.

Early on Friday morning police shot dead five attackers, including Oukabir, in Cambrils after the men drove a car into pedestrians, killing one woman and injuring six other people.

The attackers emerged from their vehicle, wearing fake explosive belts, after it overturned and were fired upon by police. One was reportedly brandishing a knife.

Thursday's attack occurred when a Fiat van was driven down the pedestrianised Las Ramblas area, killing 13 people and injured scores more. So-called Islamic State (IS) has claimed responsibility for the Las Ramblas attack, although it is not clear whether the attacks were directly coordinated by the group or simply inspired by it.