Barcelona attackers suspected supplier arrested in Morocco


Moroccan authorities arrested a man suspected of supplying gas canisters to a jihadist cell that carried out a double attack in Catalonia earlier this month killing 16 people, a source from the Spanish investigation said.

The cell accumulated around 120 canisters of butane gas at a house in a town south of Barcelona with which, police say, it planned to carry out a larger bomb attack.

Police believe the cell accidentally ignited the explosives on August 16, the eve of the Barcelona attack, triggering a blast that destroyed the house in Alcanar.

The remaining attackers then decided to use hired vans to mow down crowds along Barcelona’s most famous avenue and later mount an assault in the resort town of Cambrils.

Moroccan police arrested the man in Casablanca, the source said, without giving further details.

Spain’s interior minister, Juan Ignacio Zoido, said Moroccan authorities arrested two people linked to the attacks but declined to give details.

Spanish news agency EFE said the second man was arrested in Oujda and was a relative of one Barcelona cell member. The source did not confirm that.

Zoido, speaking after a meeting with the Moroccan interior minister in Rabat, said Spanish and Moroccan authorities were working closely together in the investigation.

Most of the suspected attackers were Moroccan and an imam suspected of radicalising the cell travelled there shortly before the attack.

Six attackers were shot dead by police and two died in the Alcanar explosion. Four other people were arrested in connection with the assaults, two have been released under certain conditions.