Spain to reinforce security across tourist areas

Spanish authorities have decided to maintain the country’s terror threat level at four

Spain to reinforce security across tourist areas

Spanish King Felipe VI, Spain's Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, and other political leaders from Spain's main political parties attend a minute's silence at Placa Catalunya, Barcelona, 18-08-2017. Image: Xinhua/Xu Jinquan

Spanish authorities have decided to maintain the country’s terror threat level at four – with no new attacks believed to be imminent.

It means the threat level remains one step below the highest following this week's terrorist attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils.

The government said it will reinforce the police presence in tourist areas across Spain in response to the threat.

In a news conference this afternoon, the country’s interior minister Juan Ignacio Zoido said the terror cell behind the two attacks that took the lives of 14 people has been “dismantled.”

However an international manhunt is continuing for one suspect – believed to be the driver of the van that drove into pedestrians in Barcelona City Centre.

Mr Zoido said the cell was comprised of 12 young men – a number of whom were teenagers.

He said the attacks were acts of "cowardly jihadi terrorism" adding that international cooperation will continue to be key as the fight against extremism continues.

More details of casualties from the attack have also been released this morning.

Of the 126 people injured, 12 are critical and 25 have "major injuries."

The attacks left 13 people dead in Barcelona and one woman dead in Cambrils.

The hunt for the suspected van driver – 22-year-old Younes Abouyaaqoub – is continuing in north-west Catalonia and across the border in France.

He is not believed to be among those held or shot dead by police in the coastal resort of Cambrils, where the second attack took place. 

Abouyaaqoub is a Moroccan national who was living in the Spanish town of Ripoll.

Police previously believed another suspect, Moussa Oukabir, was the van driver.

It emerged on Friday that Oukabir was among five men shot dead as they launched a second attack in the coastal town of Cambrils.

The 17-year-old is suspected of using his older brother's documents to hire the vehicle that ploughed through pedestrians in Las Ramblas.

He reportedly died along with Said Aallaa, 19, and Mohamed Hychami, 24, who were part of a group that mounted a similar attack in Cambrils that left one woman dead and six people injured.

The identities of the other two suspects shot by police are yet to be confirmed.

Four men, aged 21, 27, 28 and 34, who were arrested in connection with the attack remain in custody.

Three are Moroccan and one Spanish, and police said none of them were previously known to the security services for terror-related reasons.

Moussa Oukabir's older brother, Driss Oukabir, is reported to be one of those detained.

Additional reporting from IRN ...