Terror cell behind Spain attacks 'dismantled,' interior minister says

University rector describes 'total panic' in Barcelona

Catalan police said a manhunt was centred on Younes Abouyaaquoub, a 22-year-old Moroccan suspected of driving the van that plowed into a packed Barcelona promenade Friday, killing 13 people and injuring 120.

Bruno said he spoke to Gulotta's wife, Martina, and she told him her husband had been holding the 6-year-old's hand on the tourist-thronged avenue in Barcelona when "the van appeared suddenly". The group Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has claimed responsibility for both attacks. Seven have been killed, four arrested and one, Younes Abouyaaqoub, is on the run.

Spanish authorities searched the imam's home in Ripoll on Saturday, as part of their probe into terror strikes two days ago.

He read aloud a telegram of condolences sent by Pope Francis, who called the attacks a "cruel terrorist act" and a "grave offence to God".

Investigators meanwhile were working furiously to unravel the terror cell of at least 12 young men - some of them teenagers - behind the Barcelona rampage and a second ramming attack with a car in the seaside town of Cambrils.

"The executor of the stabbing operation in the city of Surgut in Russia is a soldier of the Islamic State", Amaq said.

Police investigate at the scene of an attack in Cambrils, south of Barcelona, Spain, August 18, 2017.

Police believe the house in Alcanar was being used to plan one or several large-scale attacks in Barcelona, possibly using a large number of butane gas canisters stored there. This has destroyed our family. They never talked about the imam.

"It's normal, they saw me with my beard and robe and they stopped me".

"I knew him from when he was a kid, always telling jokes", said Natalia. They all had jobs. They didn't steal. Never had a problem with me or anybody else. "It's huge, huge", she said as she fought back tears.

14 were killed and hundreds injured after a van deliberately ploughed into pedestrians in the city's popular Las Ramblas street. The suspects were gunned down by police as they left the vehicle, with one reportedly brandishing a knife. Five attackers wearing fake explosive belts were also shot dead in the Catalan town. "The attack carried out this week at Las Ramblas is an outrageous attempt by whichever organisation or individual to scare the citizens of the world".

Although much attention in the Spanish media has been paid to the Moroccan origins of the suspects, Puigdemont was careful to defend the role of the minority group, numbering around 200,000, in the region. "We must stand united against terrorism, proving to them that even in our darkest hour, we will face them undivided".

He and his mother were in Barcelona to attend the wedding of a cousin from the Philippines, according to Philippines undersecretary Sarah Arriola. Security is being stepped up especially in major tourist areas. But in the last two years, the extremist group has steadily lost ground in its self-declared caliphate in Iraq and Syria.

Turnbull said the government was concerned about a young Australian who remains unaccounted for following the Barcelona attack.

Amid the fallout, Interior Minister Juan Ignacio Zoido underscored that while the police had made its recommendation for the security barriers, the decision of whether or not to apply it was up to each local authority. "Terrible news, the town is in mourning".

"We are a broken family", niece Raquel Baron Lopez posted on Twitter. Neighbours said he was an imam, a Muslim prayer leader.

Mohammed Hychami, 23, who lived in the same building as Moussa Oukabir, and Said Aalla, 19, who lived in nearby Ribes de Freser, Girona, were also killed in the shootout. Angela Charlton in Paris; Nicole Winfield in Rome; Mystyslav Chernov in Ripoll; Oleg Cetinic in Alcanar; and Ciaran Giles in Madrid contributed.

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