31st January 2023
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Spain will not investigate alleged links between terrorist head and secret services

Spain’s National Court has declined to investigate the alleged links between the mastermind of the Barcelona and Cambrils August 2017 terror attacks and the Spanish secret services.

The father of a three-year-old victim had requested that the court open an investigation into the issue, after some media reports in the wake of the attacks hinted at the idea that the alleged terrorist, Abdelbaki Es Satty, was an informant for Spain’s CNI intelligence service.

In fact, three months after the attacks, the CNI admitted to being in touch with Es Satty while he was in jail between 2010 and 2014, but has never acknowledged messaging him shortly before the attacks, or tracking the movements of other cell members.

ALSO READ: Terrorist mastermind helped by Spanish intelligence to become imam, say reports

Yet, the Público online newspaper claimed in July 2019 that Es Satty had been an informant for the CNI up to the day of the attacks.

La Rambla
A policeman stands guard on the Rambla on 18 August 2017, a day after a van ploughed into the crowds, killing 13 persons and injuring over 100 in Barcelona. (Javier Soriano / AFP)

According to the media outlet, both sides were using an email account to communicate, writing each other messages and leaving them as drafts to avoid them being traced.

ALSO READ: CNI tried to find Es Satty an imam position in Barcelona, say reports

Es Satty was the imam in Ripoll, in northern Catalonia, and police consider him to have been the ringleader of the cell based there, although he died in an accidental explosion while handling explosives on the eve of the attacks.

The Catalan Government expressed outrage on Thursday after learning that the National Court would not investigate the alleged links.

ALSO READ: Terrorists tracked by Spanish intelligence 5 days before attacks, say reports

‘We continue without any information and this makes us think there is something they don’t want us to know,’ said the cabinet spokeswoman, Meritxell Budó.

For her, the case is evidence of the ‘lack of transparency”’shown by Spain’s government.

Ripoll’s mayor, Jordi Munell, has also criticised the decision to not look into the potential ties between them: ‘This is both surprising and sad considering the respect the victims of these tragic events and their families deserve.’

ALSO READ: Media debate: do Barcelona terror reports contradict?

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