Mastermind behind Barcelona attack allegedly gave information to Spain’s secret service

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Jimmy Baikovicius/Flickr

A MAN believed to be behind the Cataluña vehicle attacks allegedly gave information to Spain’s secret service while he was in prison, said a secret service official.

Abdelbaki Essati, who served time in prison for drug-related charges between 2010 and 2014, reportedly gave the the National Intelligence Centre (CNI) information on a security matter.

It has not been revealed what kind of information Essati provided, or whether he was still in touch with the CNI after he left prison.

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Essati was killed on August 16, the day before the attacks, when the explosives he was making blew up the house where he was staying in Alcanar, near Barcelona. Several of his associates were also killed in the incident.

It is believed the explosion caused the remaining members of the terrorist group to abandon their first plan and instead used vehicles to mow down people at the popular Las Ramblas tourist spot in Barcelona and in the Catalan seaside resort of Cambrils. 16 people were killed, and over 100 more were injured in the incident.

Essati is thought to have recruited men for the terrorist cell and been the mastermind behind the attacks. He had also reportedly been linked to extremists and recruiters of Islamic soldiers for more than a decade.

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