“The mosques are our barracks, the domes our helmets, the minarets our bayonets and the faithful our soldiers…” – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Monitor all the mosques, rather than have forensic examiners visit after each ghastly event to search for clues.
— AFDI calls for immediate investigation into foreign mosque funding in the West and for new legislation making foreign funding of mosques in non-Muslim nations illegal.
— AFDI calls for surveillance of mosques and regular inspections of mosques in the U.S. and other non-Muslim nations to look for pro-violence materials. Any mosque advocating jihad or any aspects of Sharia that conflict with Constitutional freedoms and protections should be closed.
Imam who ‘masterminded’ Barcelona massacre had links to 2004 Madrid attackers and lived with a suicide bomber who blew himself up in Iraq
- Police were last night investigating Islamic preacher Abdelbaki Es Satty’s link
- They searched his flat for samples of DNA and fingerprints to verify whether he was killed at the bomb factory where the cell prepared a planned attack
- Es Satty, 45, began preaching in Ripoll around two years ago but stopped in June
- Police sources said he followed the fundamentalist Salafi branch of Islam
- Neighbours said he left for Morocco on Tuesday and has not been heard from
By Tom Worden for MailOnline, 20 August 2017:
An Imam who ‘masterminded’ the deadly attack on Barcelona had links to the terror cell behind the 2004 Madrid massacre.
Abdelbaki Es Satty, who was based in Ripoll, had previously been convicted of importing cannabis.
He is believed to have radicalised members of the terror cell responsible for Thursday’s attacks.
Local media claimed Satty has connections with suspects detained over the 2004 al-Qaeda train bombings which killed 191 people and injured 1,500 in Madrid, counter-terrorism sources told El Pais.
News website OK Diario reported the preacher previously lived in Barcelona with members of a terrorist cell which was smashed by police in 2006.
Another of his former flatmates, Belgacem Bellil, blew himself up in a suicide attack in Iraq in 2003, the website said.
Belgacem, an Algerian, detonated 3500lbs of explosives in a truck at a military base, killing 28 people including 19 Italians in al-Nasiriyah in November 2003.
Es Satty also spent two years in prison after being caught smuggling cannabis between north Africa and Spain, El Periodico newspaper reported.
Police are investigating whether Es Satty was responsible for radicalising the members of the cell who carried last week’s atrocities in Barcelona and Cambrils.
They searched the imam’s flat in Ripoll, Spain, for samples of DNA and fingerprints to verify whether he was killed at the bomb factory where the terror cell prepared a planned attack with butane gas bombs.
Police found the remains of two bodies in the factory in Alcanar and are said to be searching for a third.
Images from inside the home show outdated appliances, white walls and bedrooms with mattresses on the floor.
Papers bearing what appeared to be French names, phone numbers and e-mail addresses were seen by reporters in Es Satty’s apartment after it was searched.
The walls are mostly bare, though a couple framed images hang on the walls of the sitting room.
Es Satty, 45, began preaching in Ripoll around two years ago but stopped two months ago, sources at the town’s mosque said.
The president of the mosque where Es Satty preached, Ali Yassine, said he hadn’t seen him since June, when he announced he was returning to Morocco for three months.
They searched his flat for samples of DNA and fingerprints to verify whether he was killed at the bomb factory where the cell prepared a planned attack with butane gas bombs
The flat’s kitchen features patterned wal, paper, a small gas stove and oven, as well as a small refrigerator
The walls are mostly bare, though a couple framed images hang on the walls of the sitting room
In the bathroom, toothbrushes and shaving cream still sit by the sink, next to a large bottle of soap
‘He left the same way he came,’ said a bitter Wafa Marsi, a friend to many of the attackers, who appeared Saturday alongside their families to denounce terrorism.
Police sources told Spanish media he followed the fundamentalist Salafi branch of Islam.
Detectives were said to be investigating whether he radicalised the young men who planned and carried out the atrocity on Thursday afternoon.
Es Satty’s flatmate, named only as Nourddem, said the preacher had left home on Tuesday ‘because he was leaving for Morocco’. Nourddem has heard nothing from him since.
‘The last time I saw him was Tuesday and he told me that he was going to see his wife in Morocco,’ Nourddem told AFP.
Police sources told El Mundo newspaper Es Satty’s age and profile suggested he might be the leader of the terror cell. The Mossos d’Esquadra would not comment on that claim.
Everyone so far known in the cell grew up in Ripoll, a town in the Catalan foothills near the French border 100 kilometers (62 miles) north of Barcelona.
A police document published by Spanish media said two alleged members of the group, Youssef Aallaa and Mohamed Hichamy, now both believed dead, had travelled to Zurich in December 2016.
Swiss newspaper Tages-Anzeiger said Swiss police confirmed that at least one of the Barcelona suspects had been in Zurich in December 2016, although it said it was not yet possible to say if the suspects had any connections to Switzerland. An investigation of the visit was under way, it said.
Es Satty, 45, began preaching in Ripoll around two years ago but stopped two months ago, sources at the town’s mosque said
Spanish police searched nine homes in Ripoll, including Es Satty’s, and two buses, and set up a roadblock that checked each car entering the town. Across the Pyrenees, French police carried out extra border checks on people coming in from Spain.
Neighbors, family and even the mayor of Ripoll said they were shocked by news of the alleged involvement of the young men, whom all described as integrated Spanish and Catalan speakers with friends of all backgrounds.
Halima Hychami, the weeping mother of Mohamed Hychami, one of the attackers named by police, said he told her he was leaving on vacation and would return August 25. His younger brother, Omar, slept late Thursday and left mid-afternoon.
Mohamed Hychami is believed among the five attackers shot to death by police in Cambrils. She hasn’t heard from Omar since he left.
‘We found out by watching TV, same as all of you. They never talked about the imam. They were normal boys. They took care of me, booked my flight when I went on vacation. They all had jobs. They didn’t steal. Never had a problem with me or anybody else. I can’t understand it,’ she said.
Even with Abouyaaquoub at large, Spanish Interior Minister Juan Ignacio Zoido declared the cell ‘broken’ Saturday.
In addition to the five killed by police, four were in custody and two or three were killed in a house explosion Wednesday. He said there was no new imminent threat of attack.
Police also conducted a series of controlled explosions Saturday in the town of Alcanar, south of Barcelona, where the attacks were planned in house that was destroyed Wednesday by an explosion.
Authorities had initially thought it was a gas accident, but took another look after the attacks.
Initially, only one person was believed killed in the Wednesday blast. But officials said DNA tests were underway to determine if human remains found there Friday were from a second victim. On Sunday, it was revealed that there might be third body.
A police official, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss the ongoing searches, said investigators believed the remains may belong to Es Satty.
Spanish authorities said on Sunday that they have been unable to identify the remains found in at a house, complicating the manhunt for the Barcelona attackers because they are not confident about who is on the run.
The official said investigators also discovered ingredients of the explosive TATP, used by the Islamic State group in attacks in Paris and Brussels, as well as multiple butane tanks that the group may have wanted to combine with the homemade explosive and load into their vehicles.
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