On 11th September 2017, almost a month after the attacks, the terrorist who survived the explosion in Alcanar, Mohamed Houli Chemlal, asked to add to his testimony. He said he stood by everything he had said previously, but wanted to provide new details. Court documents, which El Nacional has seen, describe this new interrogation.
Houli Chemlal explains that Younes Abouyaaqoub and Omar Hychami travelled to Marseille and Paris. "That night we slept at my house and, the next day, we went to Alcanar where Mohamed Hychami and Youssef Aalla were. Younes and I stayed and Omar left," he said.
This matches a police report, the result of collaboration with French authorities, confirming that Abouyaaqoub and Hychami were in France and bought some SIM cards there.
"When I was in Alcanar I heard Younes Abouyaaqoub, Mohamed Hychami and Youssef Aalla, who were on the porch, speaking amongst themselves. The first thing I heard was them talking about two men who spent a lot of time with the imam [the cell's ringleader] and who travelled to France and Belgium, that these men were the ones who took charge for him, that they were people with money and they'd help us; I don't know anything more about them", Houli Chemlal continued in his statement.
Club Colossus, a target
Houli Chemlal came to the conclusion there was another cell in France which could travel to Catalonia via Andorra to attack Lloret de Mar: "Another thing I heard them say, which is what I'm scared about, for my family, is that they were saying we weren't alone, that they knew another group. That the imam knew another imam who had another group like us, eight or nine people. This group was from France and was thinking of coming to Spain via Andorra, buying weapons and attacking Lloret de Mar. They wanted to attack the city hall and the police. I don't know if they wanted to do it in coordination with us or not".
In fact, among the documents that the Mossos d'Esquadra, the Catalan police, found in their different searches, was a list of towns on the Catalan coast. The note is handwritten and some towns are crossed out. It was found in the house Said Aalla lived in in Ripoll.
The court documents also include the internet searches made by the terrorists, also mentioning Lloret de Mar. The police report describe the town as "coastal, very popular due to its affordable leisure offerings, which enjoys many international visitors, the majority English citizens".
The terrorists made a general search for "Iloret de la mar [sic] clubs and bars", and another specifically for a certain club "colossos Iloret Afore". For the Mossos, "this search is important, since this club has a very large capacity, some one thousand eight hundred people. To make a comparison with a similar venue, it should be highlighted that, the night of the attacks in Paris on 13th November 2015, the Bataclan concert room held some one thousand five hundred attendees, so they could be similar in terms of size".
The Catalan police suggest that the Bataclan could even "have been an example to inspire the terrorists to search for targets of the same calibre".