One Year Ago — BELGIUM : “No Link between Barcelona Imam and the 2016 Brussels Attacks”

“The imam did, in fact, stay in Belgium, but he was not known to the judicial authorities.”

Thierry Werts — Spokesman of the Office of the Public Prosecutor

“But this is also a story of missed clues and intelligence failings, because Es Satty had been known to the authorities for years.”

Sam Piranty — Barcelona attack: The jihadists and the hunt for a second gang

August 22 2017 — According to the Belgium’s Office of the Public Prosecutor, there is no link between Imam Abdelbaki Es Satty and the attacks perpetrated on 22 March 2016, in Brussels. Follow us on Twitter: @INTEL_TODAY

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UPDATE (August 22 2018) — We now know that Abdelbaki Es Satty — the Imam from the small Catalan town of Ripoll who headed the jihadist cell behind the terrorist attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils in mid-August 2017 — was an informant for Spain’s National Intelligence Center (CNI).

Satty was actually well-known to the Belgian judicial authorities.  But they did not informed the Spanish government and legal procedures were not followed.

By January 2016, Es Satty had left Ripoll in search of new opportunities.

He went to Belgium to preach at a mosque in Diegem, outside Brussels. He had told leading members of the community he was an informant for the Spanish intelligence services.

“They didn’t trust him, they asked him for some papers to convince them that he actually was an imam,” said Hans Bonte, mayor of Vilvoorde. “But he didn’t have a record, so he couldn’t give them.”

The head of the mosque went to the police and Es Satty’s details were put on a national database by a local police officer.

The case was due to be discussed by local and national security services, but the officer heard nothing back.

The Belgian officer also approached a Catalan counterpart he knew but nothing came of that either. [BBC – Barcelona attack: The jihadists and the hunt for a second gang (August 8 2018)]

Perhaps even more puzzling, three Barcelona police officers were sent to the US to meet folks from the CIA shortly before the attacks.

Estas buenas relaciones sirvieron para que el sargento [Daniel] Canals fuese incluido en el viaje que la cúpula de la Brigada de Información de los Mossos realizó a Washington del 12 al 16 de junio del año pasado, tras haber recibido la alerta de la CIA sobre un posible atentado en la Rambla. Al viaje asistió el comisario Manuel Castellví, jefe del área de Información, el inspector Lluís Paradell, responsable del Área Central de Análisis, y el sargento Canals, responsable de Análisis Estratégico, una de las dos ramas en las que se divide esta última área.

Dale K. Palmer, consul for foreign affairs, appears to be the CIA man in Barcelona. His contact point at the Mossos was Sgt. Daniel Canals. [El Confidencial — El cónsul de EEUU dio información de la CIA a los Mossos antes de los atentados] — END of UPDATE

August 17 2017 — On Thursday 16:50 (14:50 GMT), a white Fiat van drives down Las Ramblas in central Barcelona, killing 13 people and injuring scores. A few hours later, a second vehicle attack took place in Cambrils. All 15 victims have been identified and their families notified.

Marc Trévidic — A former French anti-terrorism judge — has made a few cryptic comments about a possible link between Islamic terrorists in Belgium and Spain.

The Spanish authorities consider Imam Abdelbaki Es Satty  as the architect of the terror attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils.

Police have  confirmed that Abdelbaki Es Satty  —  suspected of radicalizing the 12 young men who carried out the attacks — died in an explosion on Wednesday at a house in Alcanar, south of Barcelona.

The Belgian Federal Office confirmed that an investigation had been launched in the wake of the Barcelona attack, but its focus is the Belgian victim of the attack.

“The aim is to facilitate cooperation and the exchange of information on the victims with the Spanish judicial authorities,” the spokesman of the Office of the Public Prosecutor, Thierry Werts, explained.

Imam Abdelbaki Es Satty stayed in Vilvoorde — seven miles north of Brussels, Belgium — from January to March 2016.

“Abdelbaki Es Satty was appointed as an imam in Ripoll despite having a conviction for drug smuggling.

He had also fallen under suspicion during an investigation into attempts to recruit local youths to fight for Islamic State.”  [Guardian]

Spain Anti-terrorism detectives were attempting to establish whether the Barcelona cell had any links with the terrorists responsible for the Paris attacks of November 2015 and the March 2016 bombings in Brussels.

Barcelona attack prime suspect shot dead by police

Catalan police confirmed the shooting death of Younes Abouyaaqoub, the main suspect in the Barcelona attacks in which 14 people died and over 100 were injured.

REFERENCES

Barcelona attack: suspected van driver shot dead by police — Guardian

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BELGIUM: No Link between Barcelona Imam and Brussels Attacks

One Year Ago — BELGIUM : “No Link between Barcelona Imam and the 2016 Brussels Attacks”

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