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Barcelona terror suspect Younes Abouyaaqoub shot dead by police while wearing fake explosive vest

Mirror logo Mirror 21/08/2017 Chris kitching

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The chief suspect in the Barcelona terror attack has been shot dead by Spanish authorities amid an international manhunt.

Younes Abouyaaqoub was wearing a fake explosive vest when he was gunned down by armed police during an operation west of Barcelona.

He reportedly cried 'Allahu Akbar' as officers approached him after he was spotted acting suspiciously by a local woman.

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Police say Moroccan-born Abouyaaqoub, 22, drove the rented van that ploughed into pedestrians in Las Ramblas in central Barcelona last Thursday, killing 13 and injuring more than 120.

After the van attack, the driver hijacked a car and fatally stabbed its owner as he made his getaway, sparking a manhunt across Europe.

Spanish authorities confirmed that Abouyaaqoub was the man who was shot and killed in Subirats, about 30 miles west of Barcelona.

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Bomb disposal experts used a robot to remove the vest and inspect it from a safe distance.

The explosives were fake, and police were looking for a van which may have been used by the suspect, TVE reported.

Officers were tipped off by a woman who spotted Abouyaaqoub and asked him what he was doing because she thought he appeared suspicious. The man then ran off towards vineyards and was later cornered by police.

He was shot dead on a road near a sewage treatment plant at about 4.30pm local time.

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Police had previously announced that a well-organised terror cell of at least 12 men had carried out a pair of attacks in Spain and had been plotting a larger massacre involving gas canisters.

Fifteen people were killed in twin terror attacks, including seven-year-old British boy Julian Cadman, who died in the van rampage.

About eight hours following the massacre in Barcelona, a woman was knifed to death in a car and knife rampage in the coastal town of Cambrils early Friday morning.

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In that incident, five terrorists wearing fake explosive belts were shot dead by police, including Abouyaaqoub's brother El Houssaine and cousins Mohamed and Omar Hychami.

After ploughing into pedestrians, Abouyaaqoub drove the hijacked car through a police checkpoint, and the vehicle was later found abandoned with the man's body inside, said police.

Abouyaaqoub, who lived in Ripoll, a town north of Barcelona, close to French border, was believed to be the last of the 12 men who was still at large.

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His mother, Hannou Ghanimi, appealed at the weekend for her son to give himself, saying she would rather see him in prison than end up dead.

Joaquim Forn, head of home affairs in Catalonia's regional government, said earlier on Monday that "everything indicates" Abouyaaqoub was behind the wheel.

Four people have been arrested so far - three Moroccans and a man from Spain's North African enclave of Melilla.

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Of those who were injured, about 50 remain in hospital.

The attacks have been linked to a deadly explosion that destroyed a house in Alcanar.

The house was filled with about 120 gas canisters which police believe were intended to be used in a larger attack to cause more destruction and deaths.

Two suspects, including an imam thought to have helped radicalise the others, were killed in the accidental blast.

ISIS has claimed responsibility for attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils.

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