The vanished imam of Ripoll, Abdelbaki Es Satty, was in Alcanar the night the house exploded, the night from Wednesday to Thursday. There is now evidence pointing to this conclusion. Final confirmation is missing and is closely linked with the identification of the biological remains found among the debris.
"Sometimes it is very difficult to reach the conclusion that what's happening is strange", said the head of the Mossos (Catalan police), Josep Lluís Trapero, during a press conference to detail the latest updates to the investigation trying to show why no one was suspicious of what was happening in the Alcanar house, occupied since 6 months ago.
The police are investigating the imam's international connections and the contacts that he had in Catalonia.
Trapero has confirmed that explosive substances have been found, besides the butane canisters, in the house in Alcanar. They are the same substances that Daesh (Islamic State) uses.
Sale of jewels for funding
The police are also investigating how the 120 gas cylinders were bought and the Mossos do not want to give details, although Trapero doesn't deny that there is someone linked with the sale of metals who is also linked with the purchase of the cylinders and who helped to fund the cell.
The Boqueria market, escape route
Younes Abouyaaqoub, the terrorist alleged to have carried out the hit-and-run attack on the Rambla, fled through the Boqueria market, sources linked to the investigation have confirmed to El Nacional.
He walked out of the van and took advantage of the confusion to leave through the back of the Boqueria, crossing through the market just before the police arrived.
The Mossos believe he left the security area on foot and that he reached Diagonal where he kidnapped Pau Pérez.
The police considers it already confirmed that Younes Abouyaaqoub stabbed Pérez, put him in the back seat of the car and drove it through the Mossos' checkpoint. He escaped the police's shots, later leaving the vehicle in Sant Just Desvern. Here the police lost his trail.
The Mossos have photographs of Younes Abouyaaqoub crossing the Boqueria and are searching the images from more security cameras in the area to reconstruct the route he took to reach Diagonal.
From the beginning they were looking for a man, 1.80m tall (about 5ft9) wearing a white shirt with blue stripes. The individual in the photos is dressed exactly the same.
Investigation of the Imam's contacts
The police are investigating the environment of the imam of Ripoll, Abdelbaki Es Satty. Several people from Vilanova i la Geltrú, where he lived between 2006 and 2008, are being interrogated to see which type of connections he had, investigation sources have told El Nacional.
The police are also working to locate his cellmates from Castelló prison. Currently, a terrorist convicted of the 2004 Madrid attack has been interrogated. The Ripoll imam, at that time, was in charge of organising the prayer hours among the Muslim prisoners.
Abdelbaki Es Satty is also linked with operation Chacal in which police foiled a planned attack by two brothers in Ceuta, southern Spain
The Mossos are trying to reconstruct all his past in Catalonia and abroad to try to find the connections that he had and when he became radicalised and started to operate in Catalonia, and to investigate why nobody detected his radicalisation.
The Ripoll imam, considered the leader of the cell, whose location is unknown is not discounted as being one of the dead found among the debris of the Alcanar house. They are currently analysing and trying to identify the biological remains.
Arrests in Morocco
The police have made several arrests in Morocco of terrorism apologists and defenders of the Barcelona attacks. Among them there is another Ripoll resident.
The police have found a new van in Sant Carles de la Ràpita, south of Cambrils, that the terrorists had rented.
It's not the only one. According to the Mossos chief, Josep Lluís Trapero, they've found several vehicles which they've taken to a compound in Sabadell, to analyse the fingerprints and look for clues that could help the investigation.
They have also made progress piecing together the movements of some of the vehicles during the day of the attacks.
Trapero stated that none of the vehicles found in Cambrils, come from Barcelona and that they do not have anything to do with Younes Abouyaaqoub.
Younes Abouyaaqoub acted alone in Barcelona whilst the other 5 terrorists attacked Cambrils.