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Militant Islam Monitor > Articles > Copycatting Evil: Islamist Terrorist Attacks In Spain And Finland

Copycatting Evil: Islamist Terrorist Attacks In Spain And Finland

September 4, 2017


In their diabolical urge for destruction and death, Muslim terrorists love to copycat each other's terrorist attacks. They also follow instructions from so-called leaders they are admiring. Former ISIS spokesman Abu Mohamed al-Adnani felt encouraged by the killing of Lee Rigby in London in May 2013. The two Nigerian perpetrators first used their car and then their knives. It was more than one year later, on 22 September 2014, that Adnani called on Muslims to kill "disbelieving Americans or Europeans in any manner or way, however it may be." "Smash his head with a rock, or slaughter him with a knife, or run him over with your car." The first major attack with a truck was in Nice on 14 July 2016 (on the French National Holiday), the second truck attack occurred in Berlin on 19 December 2016 (a few days before Christmas).

On August 17, 2017, Younes Abouyaaqoub, a 22-year-old Spanish-Moroccan,drove a rented van, a white Fiat Talento, into pedestrians on Las Ramblas in the Catalonian capital of Barcelona, killing 14 people and injuring at least 130 others. It was at the height of the tourist season and La Rambla and nearby shops were packed with people. When he fled he killed another man and stole his car. And another victim later died in hospital. Abouyaaqoub's whereabouts were discovered four days later. He had shown up near the village of Subirats, some 25 miles from Barcelona. After a local inhabitant recognized him from pictures of his face that had been shown on TV and alarmed the police, police shot him dead. He was wearing a fake explosive vest.

Younes Abouyaaqoub was a leading member of a 12-strong ISIS-inpiredSpanish-Moroccan terrorist cell. Five other members of the terrorist cell drove their rented car, an Audi A3, into a crowd of pedestrians and attacked bystanders with knives in Cambrils on August 18, 2017. Cambrils is a touristic coastal town 62 miles from Barcelona. A Spanish woman was stabbed to death, six other people were injured. Police killed four of the perpetrators, a fifth later later died of his injuries. The names of the perpetrators were Houssaine Abouyaaqoub, Omar Hichamy, Mohamed Hichamy, Moussa Oukabir and Said Aalla. All of them were also wearing fake explosive vests.

Just one day before the terrorist attack in Barcelona there was a huge explosion in a house in the coastal town of Alcanar, another famous tourist resort. Police found two bodies, 106 butane gas canisters and chemicals to make TAPT explosives (favored by ISIS suicide bombers and also known as "Mother of Satan"). One of the dead was 44-year-old Abdelbaki es Satty, an Imam from Morocco who had also paid a lengthy visit to Belgium. He was possibly the man who led the terrorist cell and inspired its members. Police found a green book with Abdelbaki's name on the cover and a handwritten note as well as an ISIS letter from "Soldiers of Islamic State in al-Andalus." (=Spain). Also discovered were airline tickets to Brussels. The second dead man was Youssef Allaa. A third man, 22-year-old Mohamed Houli Chemlal, was injured during the explosion and transferred to a hospital where he was arrested.

What to do with more than one hundred gas cannisters? It is possible that the terrorists were not yet ready for an even larger attack and originally planned to use TAPT suicide vests and gas cannisters. However, they probably changed their plans after the house in Alcanar was destroyed by an an unexpected explosion. One of their initial targets was probably the famous Gaudí designed Sagrada Familia Cathedral in Barcelona. This is at least what Mohamed Houli Chemlal said in an early interrogation. This 20-year-old man was born in Melilla, a Spanish enclave in Northern Morocco and a hotbed of Islamic radicalism and terrorism where both al-Qaeda and ISIS made inroads.

Nine of the terrorists were from Ripoll, a picturesque village in the foothills ofthe Pyrenees. It was there that they were probably recruited by Imam Abdelbaki es Satty who was not from Ripoll himself, but lived there for a while. The terrorist cell operated in strict secrecy, other Muslims and the local Imam did not notice them. The cell members were fully integrated in society.

It did not take long for ISIS to claim responsibility for the attacks by "the Soldiers of Islamic State."

The threat from North Africa

"North Africa is becoming more of a focus in the wake of the terrorist attacks in Europe," a Whitehall source told Nick Miller, Europe correspondent for the"Sydney Morning Herald." "The Manchester suicide bomber was born in Britain but had Libyan parents, two of the London Bridge attackers were of North African backgrounds, and Anis Amri, who drove a lorry into a Berlin Christmas market, was Tunisian." (This is not a quote from the Whitehall source, but from Nick Miller himself.)

And in peaceful Finland, Abderrahman Bouanane, a 22-year-old asylum seeker from Morocco who was using the name of Abderrahman Mechkah (a false idententy), stabbed two Finnish women to death, injuring eight other innocent victims before a surprised police officer shot him in the leg. He is now in hospital. This occurred in Turku in southern Finland on August 18, 2017. The perpetrator deliberately targeted women. Islamist terrorist attacks are extremely rare in Finland and this was the first one. The perpetrator had stayed in Germany before, "with multiple false identities," German authorities claim.

"Algemeen Dagblad" is a leading newspaper in the Netherlands and they published a shocking story on the role of Moroccan (second-generation)immigrants in terrorist attacks. About 50 percent of the perpetrators who committed terrorist attacks in Europe have a Moroccan migration background. The young Moroccans who struck in Paris in November 2015 were Salah Abdeslam, his brother Brahim Abdeslam, Chakib Akrouh, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, Foued Mohamed-Aggad and Bilal Hadfi. This was an ISIS operation. Cell leader Abdelhamid Abaaoud had been trained by ISIS in Syria. He was a high level ISIS operative who returned to Europe with forged identity papers. Abaaoud was born in Brussels-Anderlecht. "Dabiq," the official ISIS online magazine, wrote after the attacks: "Just terror. Let Paris be a lesson for those nations that wish to take heed."

The young Moroccans who struck in Brussels in March 2016 were Mohamed Abrini, Ibrahim el Bakraoui, his brother Khalid el Bakraoui and Najim Laachraoui. The attacks in Brussels were also an ISIS operation.

After the successful al-Qaida attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001, Islamic terrorists targeted many other countries and also frequently struck in Europe. The conflicts in the Muslim world are increasingly being exported to Europe. The number of terrorist attacks grew, not only due to the unexpected resurgence of al-Qaeda, but also because civil wars broke out in Iraq, Syria and Libya. A growing number of radical Muslims from the Middle East, North Africa, Somalia, Nigeria, Europe, Russia and the United States joined what they called the "jihad" ("holy war") in those countries. Many second or third generation Muslim immigrants in Europe joined al-Qaeda or ISIS. Those jihadists who return to Europe pose a very serious security threat.

Attacks have already been carried out by "returnees." The terror attack on the Jewish Museum in Brussels in May 2014 was the first one. Mehdi Nemmouche, the perpetrator and a Frenchman of Algerian descent, joined the jihad in Syria and then returned to Europe.

ISIS was using the migration flow from the Middle East and Africa to smuggle its own operatives to Europe. They succeeded in doing so in France, Belgium and Germany in 2015 and 2016.

Serious warnings by American intelligences services

Spanish media reported that the "Catalan police were warned two months ago about a possible terrorist attack on Las Ramblas," the London based "Daily Telegraph" wrote on Friday August 18, 2017. "The CIA told Los Mossos, the Catalonian regional police force, that Barcelona was a top target for jihadist terrorists as recently as June this year, El Periódico, a local paper, reported on Friday. "Two months ago Central Intelligence Agency passed a notice to the Catalan autonomous police," the paper said. "It even warned of the risk to Las Ramblas," the pedestrial thoroughfare hit by an attack on Thursday.'"

American intelligence (CIA/NSA) warned the Germans and the Belgians on at least five occasions about terror plots or about dangerous terrorists who were operating in Germany or Belgium (2007-2016).

I am not a fan of Bob Woodward or the "Washington Post," but Woodward did criticize former president Barack Obama and his Chief of Staff Rahm Israel Emanuel for ignoring top secret information on terrorists. In his book"Obama's Wars" Woodward writes about a top secret President's Daily Brief (PDB) on May 26, 2009. "The headline on this item read: ‘North American al-Qaeda trainees may influence targets and tactics in the United States and Canada.' This report, and another highly restricted one, said that at least 20 al-Qaeda converts with American, Canadian or European passports were being trained in Pakistani safe havens to return to their homelands to commit high-profile acts of terrorism. They included half a dozen from the United Kingdom, several Canadians, some Germans and three Americans. None of their names was known."

Rahm Emmanuel did not bring the bad news to president Obama. "Over the next several months," Woodward writes, "separate FBI investigations led to the arrest of two U.S. residents who had been trained by al-Qaeda or an affiliate in Pakistani safe havens. The first FBI investigation, called Operation High Rise, was triggered by a single alert Central Intelligence Agency analyst examining intercepts. On September 19, 2009, agents arrested Nabibullah Zazi, 24, in Denver. He was an al-Qaeda operative who was planning to detonate up to 14 backpack bombs aboard New York City subway cars."

"A tip from British intelligence launched a second investigation called Operation Black Medallion. Chicago resident David Coleman Headley, 49, was arrested for plottting a terrorist attack in Europe. His business partner ran an immigration and travel agency, which had an office in New York's Empire State Building. That gave him 24/7 access to the building that was possibly the most iconic terrorist target in Manhattan."

"Soon, new intelligence showed that some 100 Westerners including many with U.S. passports or visas, were being trained in Pakistani safe havens. U.S intelligence had lost track of too many of those people."

Emerson Vermaat is an investigative reporter in the Netherlands specialized in crime, terrorism and anti-Semitism. His latest book is "Terreuraanslagen in Europa door radicale moslims" ("Terrorist Attacks in Europe Committed by Radical Muslims"), Aspekt Publishers Soesterberg, the Netherlands, 2017.


The Independent (London), September 22, 2014, ISIS urges more attacks on Western "disbelievers,"


Wikipedia 2017 Catalonia Attacks,


El País (Madrid), August 27, 2017, p. 18, Seis días de horror y fuga,

"106 bombonas de butano, 500 litros de acetona, agua oxigenena y bicarbonato, necessario para fabricar TATP." "Un libro de color verde a nombre de Abdelbaki. Y en su interior, una nota manuscrita." "Breve carta de los soldados del Estado Islámico en la tierra de Al Andalus."

El País, August 24, 2017, pp. 18, 19, Relación de los miembros de la célula terrorista con los lugares de los atentados en Cataluña

"Abdelbaki es Satty: Un libro verde con una carta des Estado Islámico y billetes de avión a Bruselas."

Nederlands Dagblad (Netherlands), August 23, 2017, p. 3, "Terreurcel plande aanslag op basiliek Sagrada Familia."

Church Times (London), August 24, 2017, Barcelona terror cell had planned to bomb tourists at the Sagrada Cathedral

Sydney Morning Herald, August 19, 2017, Barcelona Attack: A 12-Strong Terror Cell Planned Bigger,


Wikipedia, 2017 Turku Stabbing,


"German authorities noted that he had stayed illegally in Germany with multiple false identities."

Algemeen Dagblad (Netherlands), August 24, 2017, p. 7, Nieuwe arrestaties voor "Turku."

Algemeen Dagblad, August 23, 2017, p. 8, Waarom juist zij? Opvallend Marokkaanse achtergrond.

"Bijna de helft van de jihadisten die aanslagen in Europa plegen hebben wortels in Marokko."

Daily Telegraph (London), August 18, 2017, CIA "warned Spanish police of posssible Barcelona attack,"


Bob Woodward, Obama's Wars: The Inside Story (New York/London: Simon & Schuster, 2010), pp. 121, 122.

"On May 26, 2009, one of the most sensitive reports from the world of deep intelligence appeared in the TOP SECRET/CODEWORD President's Daily Brief."

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