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Twelfth session of the trial for the terrorist attacks of August 17th, 2017 in Barcelona and Cambrils, which today heard the testimonies of witnesses close to one of the three defendants, Driss Oukabir, as well as the agents of the Mossos d'Esquadra bomb disposal unit which analyzed all the materials found among the ruins of the house in Alcanar.

From the conclusions of the Mossos officers, and as stated in their reports, the house was an explosives laboratory. Seventeen home-made grenades were found ready to be detonated and there were between 200 and 500 kilos of materials for making explosives in the house. The building itself was blown up, apparently by accident, on August 16th, setting in motion the deadly improvised attacks on Barcelona's Rambla and in the coastal town of Cambrils. All six of the terrorists who carried out the two attacks were shot by police but the three men on trial, Mohamed Houli Chemlal, Driss Oukabir, and Said Ben Iazza are accused of being part of the structure of the cell.

Defendant drank, snorted and went with women

Witnesses close to Driss Oukabir who appeared today all supported the line that the accused did not follow the religion of Islam and was not radicalized. Family and friends made it clear that the only member of the terrorist cell with whom he had some relationship was his brother, Moussa Oukabir, who was one of the five men shot dead by the Mossos in the Cambrils attack.

A former partner of this defendant also testified today. She gave few clear answers, alleging that she did not remember in reply to most of the prosecutor's questions. However, in the responses to the defendant's lawyer, she made it very clear that Driss did not even respect Ramadan.

VIDEO: "I had a very difficult relationship with him for five years" said Driss Oukabir's former girlfriend, telling the court, under protest, that he had ill-treated her. She also denied a prosecutor's suggestion that she had been forced to wear a veil while going out with him

What Driss Oukabir's ex-partner was not able to explain was why two key photographs for the case were saved on her mobile phone: one of some butane cylinders, and another of the rented van which was used in the deadly attack on the Rambla. "Maybe he used my mobile one day," she said.

Relatives of Driss Oukabir also testified, all in the same line. His cousin described him as someone who went out partying “from Thursday to... Thursday,” and that he drank, snorted substances, and went with other women.

VIDEO: At one point a lawyer asks Driss Oukabir's cousin "Was he a regular consumer of...?" to which the witness answers "Yes", causing the lawyer to exclaim "But I haven't finished the question. I'm not going there." The judge then states "Yes, but he's going where he's going." And the lawyer chuckles before apologising.

Driss Oukabir is accused of belonging to the terrorist cell, but on the lowest rung of the three level hierarchy which the Mossos police described. It is asserted that the van used for the Rambla attack was rented using his documentation.

The trail they left

Among the testimonies today were those of witnesses who saw the terrorists at some point in the days leading up to the attack.

They included clients at the Bar Davo, just 200 metres from the Cambrils seafront promenade where the second of the two attacks took place, shortly after midnight on the 18th August. There they saw all five terrorists who were present. A resident of the men's hometown of Ripoll also said that she saw Younes Abouyaaqoub and Mohamed Hichami heading for Barcelona in a rented van.

 

VIDEO: "The van with the two men inside headed back towards Ripoll and then it turned around and went in direction Barcelona" said a witness who believes she saw two of the terrorists in the lead up to the attacks.

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