THE Barcelona terror attack trial is underway while Catalan police have come under fire for ‘harming investigations’ which could have prevented the atrocities.
Mohammed Houli Chemlal, who was pulled from a suspected bomb factory before the attacks, and Driss Oukabir, who rented the van used in the attacks, have both been denied bail.
Mohammed Aallaa, who car was used in the Cambrils attack, has been released on bail due to a lack of evidence to hold him while internet café owner Sahal El Karib will be held pending further investigations.
Chemlal reportedly said in court the terrorist cell had plans to ‘kill hundreds’ using explosives.
There were more than 100 gas bottles at the make-shift factory as well as metal spikes believed to be intended as shrapnel to maximize the death toll.
The explosion killed an imam, Adbelbaki Es Satty, who is thought to have radicalised the men involved in the attacks.
However Catalans Mossos d’Esquadra have come under fire from the National Police and Guardia Civil, who claim they were not allowed to investigate the blast site and information was being withheld.
The Guardia Civil’s largest union said “if the first explosion had been investigated properly, we would have come to the conclusion that they were preparing for a terrorist attack.”
They also said that had information been shared, the Mossos would have learned the imam who died in Ripoll was a “disciple” of one of the men arrested in a counterterrorism operation in 2007.
In a joint statement released by the two policing bodies hinted it was not the first time information has been withheld:
“Once again, the flagrant violation of cooperation agreements, as well as the deficient working of communication mechanisms between police and security forces, is plain for all to see,” and said state-level police forces were “ignored on this occasion to the detriment of public safety.”
Catalan First Minister Carles Puigdemont has however used the events to again press for the Mossos d’Esquadra to become full members of Europol – the EU’s information sharing group for members policing bodies – as it would mean “an increase in security in the country (Catalonia).”