“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
November 18 2017 — 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). Follow us on Twitter: @INTEL_TODAY
UPDATE (July 20 2019) — The mastermind of the Barcelona terror attack was an informant for Spanish intelligence services until the day of the atrocity, according to confidential documents which form the basis of a new report. [The National]
Spanish digital newspaper Publico yesterday claimed that the country’s National Intelligence Centre (CNI) was listening to and monitoring all mobile phone conversations between members of the jihadist cell headed by imam Abdelbaki es-Satty.
The revelations come after a year-long investigation, during which Publico gathered information from intelligence sources and confidential documents about the cell and its links to the CNI.
They included a communication system called a “dead letterbox”, an email account said to be fool proof – because although it is set up on a public platform no data is sent – through which Satty and the CNI spoke.
Publico details a trip to Paris by Omar Hichamy, shot dead by police in the Cambrils attack, and Abouyaaqoub, days before the attack on the Catalan capital.
The CNI monitored the trip minute by minute. It said that the day before, a house at Alcanar, where the group was making bombs, exploded, leaving the van attack in Barcelona as their deadly plan B.
Publico said the CNI continued to monitor the terrorists until the Ramblas attack, and only deleted Satty’s file from its list of sources the morning after the massacre.
The report triggered outrage among Catalan politicians and institutions, with President Quim Torra taking to Twitter: “This is a scandal of a high level. We demand an explanation from Spanish Government who should assume responsibility. Two years after the attack the victims deserve respect and information.”
Scots lawyer Aamer Anwar, who was in Barcelona on the night of the attack, added: “Exposed-leader of Jihadi terrorist group … Abdelbaki Es Satty, was informer for Spanish secret service … The victims and their families deserve truth and justice from Spain.”
Quim Torra, the president of Catalonia, recently joked that Anwar is now as famous as superstar Barcelona striker Lionel Messi.
“And when Anwar addressed a 1.5million throng in Barcelona’s Avinguda Diagonal to mark Catalonia’s National Day, the response was testament to his reputation in the region.” [Daily Record]
Aamer Anwar is currently fighting for a posthumous appeal for Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, who was convicted of the Lockerbie bombing.
The SCCRC is reviewing the case and a decision is expected before the end of the summer 2019.
END of UPDATE
On August 17 2017 [Thursday 16:50 (14:50 GMT)], a white Fiat van drives down Las Ramblas in central Barcelona, killing 13 people and injuring at least 130 others, one of whom died 10 days later
A few hours later, a second vehicle attack took place in Cambrils, killing one woman and injuring six others. All five attackers were shot and killed by police.
The Imam Abdelbaki Es Satty is considered the “mastermind” of these attacks. According to Spain leading Newspaper “El pais”, Imam Es Satty was an informant for Spain’s National Intelligence Center (CNI).
Sources for the Spanish secret services have confirmed that the Imam had been an informant for the CNI. They have not specified for how long the imam worked for them, or whether he was paid.
Those same sources clarified that the contacts established with Es Satty “fall within the usual protocols of the agency,” and that it is “normal to obtain information to fight terrorism from those in prisons who may have information, and that there are many people who cooperate.”
In any case, Es Satty was not accused of terrorism, but of drug trafficking at the time. [El Pais]
The Belgian Connection
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.
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 (the day before the attacks) 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.
A Rhetorical Question
How long will it take before Belgian ‘journalists’ discovered that Osama Atar — the man widely believed to be the mastermind of the Paris and Brussels attacks — was working for the Belgian Intelligence Services?
Barcelona Terror Attack: 13 Dead, Dozens Injured
Imam behind Barcelona terror attack was intelligence agency informant — El Pais
Barcelona Terror Attacks — Imam was CNI Informant
Barcelona Terror Attacks — Imam was CNI Informant [UPDATE]