CEP Statement on the Anniversary of the Barcelona and Cambrils Attacks

(New York, N. Y.) – Four years ago, on August 17, 2017, Islamist terrorists drove a rented white van down Barcelona’s busy Las Ramblas boulevard at high speed, careering into pedestrians on the packed tourist street. The following day, five members of the same jihadist cell drove to the town of Cambrils and launched a knife attack on the promenade. The horrific attacks claimed the lives of 16 people and injured more than 150 others.

ISIS claimed responsibility for the attacks, which were carried out by Moroccan nationals raised in Spain and radicalized by Imam Abdelbaki Es Satty. Es Satty was said to have been communicating with ISIS’s external operations wing on Spanish soil. He died in an accidental explosion the day before the van attack with other members of the cell.

In May of this year, two men who assisted the perpetrators of the attacks were sentenced to 53 and 46 years respectively for offenses that included belonging to a terrorist cell and manufacturing and possessing explosives. These sentences were notably longer than the 41 and 36 years requested by the prosecution. The third convict was given an eight-year jail term for collaborating with the group.

David Ibsen, executive director of the Counter Extremism Project (CEP) said:

“These terrorist attacks were organized and planned by a group of radicals. Those who assisted with the logistics and orchestration of the Barcelona and Cambrils attacks must be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. CEP commends the decision of the Spanish court to impose long-term prison sentences on the accomplices.

“It is pivotal that terrorist cells are targeted at their roots. The supporting infrastructure around terrorists must be dismantled to ensure that extremist networks are destroyed. This can only be achieved by demanding that all parties are held accountable for their role in these heinous acts and that they receive sentences reflective of the death and destruction caused by their actions.”

To read CEP’s Spain resource, please click here.

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