Barcelona attack: Royals attend special Mass for victims

Barcelona attack: Royals attend special Mass for victims

BY BBC NEWS/KORIR JUMA,NAIROBI,20TH AUG 2017-King Felipe and Queen Letizia are attending Barcelona’s famous Sagrada Familia to mourn the 14 people killed in vehicle attacks in Catalonia.

Police are still hunting the driver of a van that killed 13 at Barcelona’s Las Ramblas. A 14th victim died in a second attack at Cambrils.

Ministers say the jihadist cell behind the attacks has been dismantled.

But police are still hunting for the van driver and an imam missing from a mosque in the town of Ripoll.

The special Mass is being celebrated at the iconic, Gaudi-designed Sagrada Familia.

Some reports in Spanish media say the jihadist cell had intended to target the Sagrada Familia with explosives.

PM Mariano Rajoy is also attending the Mass, where there is tight security.

On Saturday the royal couple laid a wreath at the site of the attack at Las Ramblas, accompanied by Barcelona Mayor Ada Colau and Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont.

Catalonia has always been fiercely independent but the royals’ presence brought shouts of “Long live the king!”

The king and queen earlier met victims of the Barcelona attack in the city’s Hospital del Mar.

Later on Sunday, Barcelona FC will hold their first league game of the season, with 100,000 expected at the Camp Nou, where there will be a minute’s silence.

On Saturday, Interior Minister Juan Ignacio Zoido said the jihadist cell behind the attacks, believed to be about 12 strong, had been fully dismantled, despite the continuing search for the driver.

Catalan Interior Minster Joaquim Forn was more circumspect, stressing that the police operation could not be considered over until all those suspected of being part of the cell were in custody.

Moroccan-born Younes Abouyaaqoub, 22, believed to be the van driver who escaped after the Barcelona attack, remains the focus of the manhunt.

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