Memorial service remembers Barcelona attack victims

World Today

A man pays his respects next to candles and flowers placed on the ground after a terror attack that killed 14 people and wounded over 120 in Barcelona, Spain, Sunday, Aug. 20, 2017. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

Spanish police have said a 12 person terrorist cell that carried out two attacks in Catalonia had collected 120 gas canisters to use in vehicle attacks.

Police are still hunting for the suspected driver of the van that killed 13 people in Barcelona on Thursday. 

CGTN’s Dan Williams has the story.
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Continuing the manhunt for the suspected driver of the Barcelona attack, police have set up scores of roadblocks across Catalonia. They are focusing their energy on Younes Abouyaaquoub, a 22-year-old Moroccan suspected of carrying out the Barcelona attack that killed 13 people. 

Catalonian officials said they have neutralized the terrorist threat, but there is a fear Abouyaaquoub may have escaped from Spain.

 “I’m not saying we have any specific information, but clearly it’s a possibility,” according to Catalan police chief Major Josep Lluis Trapero. “He could have crossed a border by some means.”  

Police also confirmed that more than 120 gas canisters have been found at a house in Alcanar. Two people died and another was seriously injured in an explosion there on Wednesday night.

Authorities believe the terrorists had initially planned a much bigger attack using explosives. 

The twin attacks killed fourteen people. One of the victims was 7-year-old Julian Cadman, a dual British-Australian national.

A special service was held on Sunday at Barcelona’s iconic Sagrada Familia basilica. Spain’s King Felipe VI, as well as Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, attended the service along with victims’ families.

Cardinal Juan Jose Omella used the occasion to call for peace and unity. 

 “I am close to all of you in this painful moment. I am really there with you. May god bless you,” the archbishop said.

Those who attended the service felt a mixture of emotions.

“We are nervous. It is obvious,” one attendee said. “We are afraid, yes, but we need to start again and we have to be really, really strong.”

Signs of unity are abundant.  Portugal’s President Marcelo Rebelo and Prime Minister Antonio Costa had coffee at a café in Las Ramblas. They hoped the gesture would send a message of resistance to the terrorists.  

At Camp Nou, fans of both Barcelona and Real Betis joined together in a show of solidarity ahead of their “La Liga” match.