Man shot in search for Barcelona van attack suspect

Spanish police say they have shot and killed Younes Abouyaaqoub, the main suspect of a deadly van attack in Barcelona last week.  

Police gunned down Abouyaaqoub, who was wearing what seemed to be a suicide belt, near Subirats, west of Barcelona, on Monday after being alerted to the presence of a suspicious man.

Authorities gave few immediate details of the incident, saying they had called in a bomb squad to approach the man’s body after shooting him down.

“The suspect wore what appeared to be an explosive belt. He has been shot down,” police said in an official tweet.

Abouyaaqoub had been the focus of an extensive manhunt after authorities said he used a van to mow down pedestrians in Barcelona’s famous Las Ramblas promenade on Thursday, killing 13 people and injuring more than 120 others.

Police also said he stabbed a driver to death and hijacked his car on Thursday night in his getaway.

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Al Jazeera’s Sonia Gallego, reporting from Barcelona, said that a female resident of Subirats had tipped off police, after spotting a man who was acting suspiciously.

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As they approached the man in question, he reportedly lifted his shirt to show an explosive belt, prompting police to shoot him.   

Abouyaaqoub, 22, has been the target of an extensive manhunt following Thursday’s attack, which was claimed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) group.

Earlier on Monday, authorities had said they now had evidence that he drove the van that plowed down the Las Ramblas promenade.

“He was the only person who was still at large and had been a prime person of suspect,” Al Jazeera’s Gallego said.

The other suspects in a cell of 12 people thought to be behind the attack have been arrested, shot by police or killed in an explosion at a house in Catalonia a day before Thursday’s van attack.

The attack in Barcelona was linked to another outburst of violence hours later in the resort down of Cambrils, further down the Mediterranean coastline from Barcelona.

A car crashed into passers-by there and attackers reportedly got out to tried and stab people. Five suspects were shot dead, while a Spanish woman died in the attack, which was also claimed by ISIL.

Of the more 120 injured on Las Ramblas, nine remain in a critical condition in hospital.

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Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies