Catalonia’s police chief has said that he could not rule out that Younes Abouyaaquoub, suspected of driving the van in Thursday’s deadly terror attack, has crossed the border and entered France.
“We don’t have any specific information on this but it cannot be ruled out,” Josep Lluis Trapero told a news conference in Barcelona.
Trapero added that border checks had been reinforced immediately after the attacks. France and Spain are part of the Schengen free movement zone, ordinarily meaning that EU citizens can move freely without going through border checks.
Police believe Younes Abouyaaquoub, a 22-year-old Moroccan, was the van driver who ploughed into pedestrians on Las Ramblas in Barcelona, an area popular with tourists, killing 13 and wounding over 120 people.
This announcement comes after Spanish authorities have confirmed that two bodies have been identified amongst the rubble of the house in Alcanar, which was destroyed following an explosion on Wednesday.
It was initially believed that the explosion was a domestic accident but following the deadly attacks on Thursday in Barcelona and Cambrils, authorities revisited the case and believe the house was the site of a bomb-making factory.
It is believed the stash of butane canisters, intended to be used in the attacks on Thursday, or at a later attack, were ignited accidentally killing two and injuring 16. Police suspect that had the bomb makers been successful, scores more would have been killed.
One of those believed to have been killed in the blast is missing imam and alleged co-conspirator in the 12-man cell Abdelbaki Es Satty. According to El País, Youssef Aalla, who is also missing, was an explosives handler.
Suspected bomb maker Mohamed Houli Chemlal was wounded in the explosion and is being detained.
Others arrested include Driss Oukabir who handed himself into police claiming that his younger brother, Moussa, had stolen his identity to rent the van.
Mohammed Aalla, owner of the Audi A3 used in the Cambrils car attack, and Salh El Karib, have also been detained.
The five terrorists who killed one woman and injured half a dozen others in the Cambrils ramming attack, Moussa Oukabir, brothers Mohamed and Omar Hichamy, Said Aalla, and Houssaine Abouyaaqoub, were shot dead by police.