The family of a teenager shot dead by Spanish police after being suspected of involvement in devastating terror attacks in Catalonia have said they are ‘completely distraught’ by his death.
Moussa Oukabir, 17, was one of five men shot dead after knocking down pedestrians in the Catalan seaside resort of Cambrils in the early hours of Friday.
His brother, Driss Oukabir, 27, was arrested in the Spanish town of Ripoll on Thursday just hours after a van sped into crowds on the busy Las Ramblas avenue in central Barcelona, leaving 14 people dead.
Residents of Melouiya, a village high in Morocco’s Atlas Mountains, are in shock at the news two of their sons were implicated in terror attacks in Spain.
Moussa Oukabir, 17, who was shot dead by police in Cambrils after exiting a car that had been driven into pedestrians in the area. But residents of Melouiya, a village high in Morocco’s Atlas Mountains, are in shock at the news two of their sons were implicated in terror attacks in Spain
A traditional tent set up on a rocky patch of ground near the rough stone house of the Oukabir family (pictured), originally intended for a wedding reception, has been turned into a funeral tent
A traditional tent set up on a rocky patch of ground near the rough stone house of the Oukabir family, originally intended for a wedding reception, has been turned into a funeral tent.
‘Joy has given way to sadness and pain,’ said Abderrahim, in his forties, an uncle of the Oukabir brothers.
‘We are in shock, completely distraught’, said the father of the two young men, Said, with tears in his eyes.
With an athletic build and a baseball cap on his head, he was surrounded by family members, neighbours and friends who had come to offer their condolences.
The economy of the impoverished, mostly Berber-speaking region is based mainly on farming, herding and money sent home by family members working in Europe. Pictured: The Oukabir family home
Said Oukabir, the father of the duo, left to try his luck on the other side of the Mediterranean in the 1990s. Pictured: The funeral tent in the village
‘The whole region is in shock,’ Moussa’s uncle said. ‘He was gentle, always smiling, he didn’t smoke or drink’. Pictured: The village in Morocco
The family have lived between Spain, Melouiya and the nearby town of Aghbala. Pictured: The family home
‘Spanish police called Moussa’s mother who is in Spain to tell her that he was dead,’ he told AFP shortly before the official announcement by police on Friday night.
The twin terror attacks left 14 people dead and some 120 wounded.
‘We are simple, peaceful people. We don’t know anything about radicalism or terrorism,’ another resident told AFP.
The economy of the impoverished, mostly Berber-speaking region is based mainly on farming, herding and money sent home by family members working in Europe.
Said Oukabir left to try his luck on the other side of the Mediterranean in the 1990s.
Moussa Oukabir was shot dead by Catalonian police in Cambrils
Older brother Driss, who is understood to have been arrested but denies involvement, was pictured online relaxing on a beach in a photo changed to his profile picture this week
Moussa pulling typical teenage poses on social media, where he also posted about hatred for non-Muslims. It is believed he used an ID belonging to his older brother Driss Oukabir, 28, (right) to rent the van used in the attack
Hunted: The driver of the van used along Las Ramblas is still on the run, but it is not known who was behind the wheel
Arrested: Driss Oubakir handed himself in to police
With his son Driss, who was 10 at the time, he headed for the province of Girona in Catalonia.
Moussa, who would have celebrated his 18th birthday in October, was born in Ripoll, a Spanish town of around 10,000 people about 60 miles north of Barcelona.
The family have since lived between Spain, Melouiya and the nearby town of Aghbala.
The news that the two brothers were implicated in the Spain attacks shocked relatives, who said they had no idea the two had been radicalised.
‘The whole region is in shock,’ Moussa’s uncle said. ‘He was gentle, always smiling, he didn’t smoke or drink.’
This rented van brought terror to the streets of Europe when it was driven at speed down a busy street in central Barcelona, killing 14 including a three-year-old boy
A man lying on the street in Barcelona after the van ploughed into pedestrians along Las Ramblas
British tourist Harry Athwal rushed to help a young child who was lying injured on the pavement immediately after Thursday’s horrific terror attack in Barcelona
Said said his sons had shown no sign of radicalisation.
‘They lived like the young people of their age, dressed like them,’ their father said.
‘Moussa was a nice boy who didn’t hurt anyone.
‘He was attending classes and was going to take his high school exams next year. He recently started praying… but it stopped there.’
He said the young man had ‘doubtless’ been manipulated.
Driss had ‘left school early to work honestly and earn a living’, he said.
‘Today he is between the hands of God and the police. He is under investigation. I hope they will say he’s innocent. I don’t want to lose both my sons.’